Katsav's lawyer requests to submit new evidence

Evidence is 'iron alibi' that shows Katsav did not lie about his whereabouts during alleged rape, lawyer claims.

February 23, 2012 17:55
3 minute read.
Moshe Katsav walking into court in October

Moshe Katsav walking into court 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post))

Lawyers for former president Moshe Katsav filed a request to the Supreme Court on Thursday, asking to present two pieces of further evidence in an additional hearing.

The former president is serving a seven-year prison sentence after being convicted in the Tel Aviv District Court in 2010 of two counts of rape, two counts of sexual harassment, an indecent act using force and obstruction of justice.

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According to Katsav’s defense attorney, Yoram Sheftel, two pieces of additional evidence show that Katsav was telling the truth regarding his whereabouts before, during and after the time that “Alef” from the Tourism Ministry claims the former president first raped her in Tel Aviv’s Textile House in April 1998.

The first rape charge for which the former president was convicted is alleged to have occurred immediately after an event for Persian Jews in the Ramat Gan National Park on April 19, 1998. Alef testified that Katsav went with her from that event to his office in the Textile House in Tel Aviv and raped her there.

In his testimony before the Tel Aviv District Court, Katsav said that he was surrounded by Shin Bet security guards at the event, and that at the time of the alleged rape, he had been in a car without Alef, driving his mother home from the event to Kiryat Malachi.

The district court, however, ruled that Katsav had lied both about the security guards and his mother’s presence at the event.

Sheftel said the additional evidence he wants the Supreme Court to see includes a video recording that shows Katsav with a personal security guard from the Shin Bet during the event in Ramat Gan. The second piece of evidence is a photograph taken during that event that Sheftel says proves that Katsav’s mother was present, as the former president testified in his trial.

Sheftel told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that after the event, Katsav and his mother got into his car, and they drove off without Alef, since cellphone tracking from that day shows that there had been phone calls at that time between Katsav and Alef.

“The key is in the cellphone tracking,” Sheftel said, adding that if Alef had been in the car, she and Katsav would not have needed to speak on the phone.

Katsav testified that he left in his car with his mother at 5 p.m. that night, whereas according to the court ruling Alef testified that she “maintained eye contact with [Katsav], left the event with him and she didn’t think he left the event and then returned to it later.”

“Therefore, according to this scenario, it is highly improbable that [Katsav] left in his car with his mother, who was over 70, and with Alef, then stopped so he could carry out a rape in Textile House, and afterward returned with the victim to his car, where his mother was waiting, and then the whole group went somewhere else to bring Alef to her car – as she didn’t know where she parked – so she could drive back to her home in Jerusalem,” the request to the court said.

Sheftel said the new evidence shows that Katsav’s testimony was credible, and should be taken in conjunction with evidence from the Shin Bet, who testified regarding the security provided to the former president.

In November, after the Supreme Court rejected Katsav’s appeal against his conviction and sentence, his defense team asked to be allowed extra time to file a request for a further appeal hearing, saying that after studying the ruling, they believed there were grounds for further discussion.

In Thursday’s request to file the two pieces of evidence, Sheftel said that another hearing was appropriate.

“The video tape shows unequivocally – contrary to the judgements – that [Katsav] was with a personal security guard during the event, exactly as he said in his testimony,” the request to the Supreme Court said.

“Indeed, the honorable court has given its ruling in the appeal, but a request for a further hearing is pending. Therefore, the appeal ruling is not peremptory.”

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