Israel Supreme Court to Hear Appeal of Katsav Rape Conviction

Main arguments of former President Moshe Katsav's defense include District Court ignoring possibility that sexual relations between Katsav and plaintiff were consensual; Katsav was sentenced to seven years in prison for sexual offences in March.

The appeal filed by former President Moshe Katsav against his conviction and sentencing for a series of sexual offenses will be heard Sunday by the Supreme Court.

Justices Miriam Naor, Edna Arbel and Salim Joubran will hear arguments by both sides this week and possibly next week as well.

Katsav - Ilan Assayag - 18072011
Ilan Assayag

Katsav, who was convicted of a series of sexual offenses, including two cases of rape, was sentenced in March by the Tel Aviv District Court to seven years imprisonment.

Among the main arguments that Katsav's defense will make before the court is that the District Court ignored the possibility, reflected in the evidence, that the sexual relations between Katsav and the main plaintiff in the rape case, A. from the Tourism Ministry, were consensual.

During questioning by police and in his testimony during the trial, Katsav denied that he had had any sexual relations with the plaintiff.

In his appeal, filed in May, Katsav argued that the unequivocal ruling of the court against him ignored problems with the evidence which had led to serious disagreements between senior figures in the State Prosecutor's Office. Katsav is also expected to argue that the court ignored evidence presented by the defense, which cast doubt on the claims of prosecution witnesses.

"The appellant will enter the court on Sunday with the stigma of a rapist and that of a serial sexual offender on his forehead," defense attorneys wrote in the appeal.

Justice Yoram Danziger decided to delay Katsav's imprisonment until the court's ruling on the appeal.

Danziger wrote in his decision, which was criticized, "that it is not possible to say that the chances of Katsav's appeal are unfounded, without determining any conclusions on the matter."