Former Israeli president Moshe Katsav walks towards the entrance to Maasiyahu prison in Ramle, near Tel Aviv, December 7, 2011.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel lashed out on Tuesday at the decision to grant furlough for the Passover Seder to former president and convicted rapist Moshe Katsav.
“The decision by the Matisyahu Prison warden to let Katsav celebrate the holiday of freedom with his family is outrageous and incomprehensible,” said Orit Sulitzeanu, director-general of ARCCI.
“This is a man who served in the highest public office in the state, who was convicted of rape, without having taken responsibility and expressing remorse for his actions.”
In 2011 Katsav was sentenced to seven years in prison by a Tel Aviv District Court after he was unanimously convicted of two counts of rape, two counts of sexual harassment, an indecent act using force and obstruction of justice. The Supreme Court upheld the Tel Aviv court’s sentence following an appeal by the former president’s defense.
After serving a quarter of his seven-year sentence, in 2013 Katsav was granted monthly furlough, as is the case with prisoners who meet the legal requirements and pose no danger to the public.
This year would mark the first time the former president, who is halfway through his sentence, is to be granted leave to spend the Passover Seder at his Kiryat Malachi home. Last year he requested leave for the holiday, but was denied because insufficient time had elapsed between his previous break.
“On the backdrop of the epidemic of sexual violence that the public is exposed to daily, the benefit Katsav has won conveys forgiveness towards the issue and harms victims of sexual violence everywhere,” said Sulitzeanu. “I hope that when Katsav will celebrate the holiday of freedom, he will think about the women who will forever remain imprisoned by the trauma he has caused them.”