Former president Moshe Katsav in court 311.
(photo credit: Alex Kolomoiski / Pool)
Former president Moshe Katsav’s legal team filed a request to the Supreme Court
on Thursday, asking for an additional hearing before an extended panel of
Katsav’s defense attorneys, Avigdor Feldman, Zion Amir, Mickey
Hoba and Avraham Lavie filed the request exactly two weeks after the court
rejected Katsav’s appeal against his rape conviction and sentence. Katsav
is set to begin his seven-year prison sentence on December 7.
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president was unanimously convicted in the Tel Aviv District Court a year ago of
two counts of rape, two counts of sexual harassment, an indecent act using
force, and obstruction of justice.
The panel of Supreme Court justices –
Miriam Naor, Edna Arbel and Salim Joubran – stated unanimously in their ruling
that the District Court’s verdict was sound and that Katsav would serve the
prison term imposed by the lower court.
Now Katsav wants to reopen the
appeal in a special hearing with an extended panel of justices.
Supreme Court normally sits with a three-strong panel, but the Supreme Court
president can rule to expand that panel to any uneven number (the number of
justices must be uneven to ensure that where the justices disagree there can
always be a majority ruling).
On rare occasions, the court may also rule
to hold what is termed an “additional hearing,” in which a panel of five or even
more justices will re-hear an appeal already decided by the panel of
Katsav’s lawyers have asked for an additional 45 days to formulate
their arguments against the Supreme Court’s ruling and said that after studying
that ruling they believe there are grounds for further discussion before an
However, since the former president’s appeal was rejected
by all three Supreme Court justices after his unanimous conviction in the
District Court, it is not expected that Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch
will accept the request.
Regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision over
the extended hearing, Katsav’s request to the court does not include a request
to stay his prison term. He is expected to share a cell in the religious wing of
the Ma’asiyahu Prison with former cabinet minister Shlomo Benizri, who is
serving a four-year prison term after being convicted of accepting bribes.