Jailed Teen Rapist Claims Katsav Getting Privileged Treatment

Teen learns his appeal has been put off for six months.

A teenage rapist who is sitting in jail until his Supreme Court appeal is heard says another convicted rapist - former President Moshe Katsav - is getting preferential treatment.

The teen learned only last week that his appeal, originally scheduled for today, has been put off for six months because Justice Edna Arbel, who will head the bench, cleared her schedule this week for "personal reasons."

The appeal, which was filed in August 2010, is one of many that have been rescheduled for early 2012.

His attorney, Tomer Urinov, petitioned Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch this week and asked that she intervene and advance his client's hearing date. He argued that if his client - who was 16 when the crime occurred and is now 18 - is eventually found innocent, the delay means he will have served a sizable portion of his four-and-a-half year sentence in vain.

Urinov contrasted the handling of the teen's case with that of Katsav, whose appeal will be heard only three months after it was filed. An appeal to the Supreme Court is generally heard eight to 12 months after filing.

Moreover, Urinov argued, Katsav is getting special treatment even though he is not in prison, since the court agreed to stay his imprisonment until after the appeal. His client was imprisoned only days after his trial ended, Urinov said.

The teen was convicted last year by the Be'er Sheva District Court of having raped a girl in Eilat. He denied the allegation, saying the girl had lied to pacify her father, who was angry that she had come home very late.

The decision to delay the teen's long-awaited appeal practically at the last minute "does him a terrible injustice," Urinov said.

That his client will have been in jail for some 18 months by the time the appeal is heard, even though there is a good chance it will be accepted, contravenes the principles of juvenile law and of equality before the law, Urinov argued.

The Courts Administration said in a statement that "court dates in the Supreme Court's packed schedule are determined after each file is carefully examined. That this criminal appeal deals with a juvenile convict was taken into account, along with other relevant considerations."