Women’s groups, MKs blast Katsav's early release

By
December 19, 2016 03:18

“Katsav used his political power to rape and now he used that same political power to win his early release.”

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Former president of Israel Moshe Katsav

Former president of Israel Moshe Katsav. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Women’s groups and female lawmakers slammed the decision on Sunday by the Parole Board regarding the early release of former president Moshe Katsav, who has served five years out of a seven-year sentence for rape.

The Israel Women’s Network issued a statement, saying, “It is inconceivable that a man who hurt so many women over the years, while taking advantage of his position and authority and has never expressed any remorse for his actions, will receive a prize... in the form of early release.”

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“The release of Katsav sends a hard message to victims of sexual offenses everywhere,” the statement read.

The network called on the prosecution to “stand by the victims” and immediately challenge the “scandalous” decision of the Parole Board.

Meretz MKs Zehava Gal- On, Michal Rozin and Tamar Zandberg released a joint statement and said, “The Parole Board ignored the public interest and broadcast a dangerous message that you can harm women and get out of it at a low price, especially if you are connected.”

They said the Parole Board made a “cowardly and tainted” decision, “succumbing to the manipulations” in reducing the sentence.

“Katsav used his political power to rape and now he used that same political power to win his early release,” they said.

The MKs added that the former president’s statement of remorse was “weak and feeble.”

“Nothing will shorten the ‘punishment’ of these women... the committee will not have mercy on them, and they will not arrange a special rehabilitation program that is custom-made for them,” the MKs said.

MK Yael German (Yesh Atid) said she hoped that President Reuven Rivlin would not accept the recommendation of the Parole Board and would deny the early release.

“It is inconceivable that a person who served in a most respected position in Israel and was supposed to be an example to all citizens will not finish his sentence for such serious offenses,” she said.

MK Merav Michaeli (Zionist Union) also issued a statement and said, “Katsav must present words of remorse that he reputedly said to the committee to the women he raped and to the public.”

Orit Sulitzeanu, director of the Association for Rape Crisis Centers in Israel, said the decision was “infuriating and outrageous” and a “slap in the face” to all the victims of sexual violence in the country.

She slammed the Parole Board for suddenly reversing its decision, when only a year ago it concluded that Katsav could not be rehabilitated, and building a custom-designed release program for the former president.

“A serial sex offender who has not fully faced what he did cannot get preferential treatment,” she said.

“We must remember that this is a nasty sex offender who forced himself on many women, and the committee’s decision to release him, following a number of small steps in the right direction – without participation in the main sex offenders rehabilitation program – is a moral stain,” she concluded.


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