Katsav Asks Supreme Court to Quash Rape Conviction

Former president's lawyers argue trial was unjust, say complainant lied about sexual assault.

Former President Moshe Katsav appealed yesterday to the Supreme Court over his conviction on counts of rape and several other sexual offenses against a number of his subordinates. Katsav also appealed his seven-year jail sentence.

The former president asked the court to postpone the beginning of the sentence until after it considers the appeal. If this request is rejected, Katsav will begin serving his sentence within five days, on May 8.

Attorneys Avigdor Feldman, Zion Amir, Avraham Lavi and Mickey Hoba wrote to the Supreme Court they believe Katsav's trial was unjust, as their client entered the courtroom "already branded with the mark of Cain as a rapist and serial sex offender."

The attorneys criticized the Tel Aviv District Court panel of judges George Karra, Miriam Sokolov and Judith Shevach for unreservedly accepting their client's demonization and rationalizing every gap and contradiction in the evidence.

"Blatant lies by one complainant become memory troubles, reserving her complaint for many years becomes coyness, phone calls in which the complainant is found to be wanting to work with the appealer are ruled inadmissible," they wrote.

They reiterated the accusation that the complainant was lying and that there has been no rape.

"If there has been any closeness beyond a working relationship it was by mutual agreement, or, at the very worst, by abuse of authority," wrote the lawyers. They also asked the court to show consideration for the fact Katsav served as president for seven years.