Former president Moshe Katsav requested on Monday a pardon from current
President Shimon Peres regarding his seven-year sentence for rape and other
Katsav’s wife, Gila, submitted his request to the Office
of Pardons division of the Office of the President.
Office said the request would not be given better or worse treatment than any
other pardon request, but would be dealt with “according to the accepted
Katsav, 66, is serving his sentence at Ma’asiyahu Prison, near
Ramle, for his conviction on two counts of rape, two counts of sexual
harassment, and other sexual offenses and obstruction of justice, which started
in December 2011.
According to media reports, his petition asks for a
pardon in order to clear his name and, in some unspecified manner, to try to
overturn his conviction on the grounds that he did not get a fair
Reports also indicated that he contended that having to resign as
president was punishment enough.
This last argument is hard to define and
could have new life and even be a reason for the timing of the pardon request in
light of the recent court decision granting former prime minister Ehud Olmert a
lenient sentence in large part based on citing Olmert’s having to resign as
prime minister as sufficient punishment.
However, media reports also
indicate that he has not expressed remorse for his crimes, generally a
prerequisite for receiving a pardon.
The Office of the President did not
provide much information or respond to inquiries beyond confirming receipt of
Katsav has no apparent road to appeal, having already
appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court and lost in a decision that was not
considered close in November 2011.
Katsav also has already taken the
unusual step of asking the attorney-general to reopen the case on the grounds of
newly discovered evidence, which was also rejected in April.
Olmert was convicted of breach of public trust in the Investment Center Affair,
one of the most minor financial- related crimes on the books and one that does
not physically harm anyone, Katsav was convicted of rape, one of the most severe
crimes on the books and a crime that physically harms a person.
light, Peres is expected to reject Katsav’s request.
immigrated to Israel from Iran in 1951, was elected president by the Knesset in
Katsav beat out Peres, the man who replaced him upon his
resignation in 2007.
Katsav is the first president of the state ever
sentenced to prison.