Three More Women to Testify Against Katsav in Rape Trial

Court to allow women to testify despite fact that statute of limitations on ex-president's alleged offenses against them has passed.

Three further complainants will testify against Moshe Katsav in the former president's trial over rape and sexual assault charges, despite the fact that the statute of limitations on his alleged offenses against them has passed.

The Tel Aviv District Court rejected on Thursday a petition by Katsav's lawyers to ban the women from testifying against the former president, who faces charges of rape, indecent assault and sexual harassment of three female employees, first as tourism minister and then as president.

Nevertheless, the court accepted Katsav's defense team's arguments against another complainant, and decided not to hear her testimony. It chose to do so because she was not deemed essential to resolving the problems in the case.

On Monday, a gag order was lifted on the opening statements made on the first day of former president Moshe Katsav's trial last Tuesday. The trial is being held behind closed doors at the Tel Aviv District Court to protect the identities of the complainants.

Prosecutor Ronit Amiel told the court that Katsav waged a "campaign of intimidation and fear" against the women, and against potential witnesses in the trial.