Legal Sources: Unlikely That Former Israel President Katsav Will Be Pardoned

Former president Katsav's 7-year conviction for rape, other sexual offenses upheld by Supreme Court last week; Katsav to Israeli press: I curse the day I was elected president.

A senior legal source said on Wednesday that the chances that former president Moshe Katsav will secure a legal pardon for his seven-year rape conviction are minimal.

Israel's Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously upheld the Tel Aviv District Court's decision to convict former President Moshe Katsav of two counts of rape and other sexual offenses, and to sentence him to seven years in prison.

Moshe Katsav - Tomer Appelbaum - November 2011
Tomer Appelbaum

Legal sources emphasized President Shimon Peres’s policy of not reducing sentences of sex offenders who have been convicted of serious crimes, such as rape, and not reducing sentences of public figures who have been convicted of serious crimes.

As such, Peres does not ease punishment of convicted public figures before they have served a significant portion of their sentence, have admitted their guilt, and have agreed to go through rehabilitation.

In an interview with the newspaper Yediot Aharonot, Katsav said Wednesday, “I have not committed suicide, and I do not intend to commit suicide. I promise my family that I will be strong, but even iron that is hit, as I have been over the past five years, bends. I curse the day I was elected president of the State of Israel.”

“I respect the decision of the judges, but they made a mistake, my conviction should not be based on the decision that the main witness is reliable,” Katsav said in the interview.

“Behind the accusations against me there were politics,” Katsav added.

“I apologize to the women who complained against me if I hurt them. I will continue fighting for my innocence. My truth will come to light, even if it is after my death,” Katsav said in the interview.

In an interview to the Maariv newspaper, Katsav also said, “I have never hurt anyone, but if any woman thinks that she was hurt by me, I apologize to her.”

קראו כתבה זו בעברית: גורם משפטי בכיר: אין סיכוי שקצב יזכה לחנינה