The Supreme Court ruled on Sunday that former president Moshe Katsav will not be
allowed a further appeal hearing in his rape trial.
The former president
is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence after being unanimously
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
Supreme Court Justice Esther Hayut wrote in her ruling that
Katsav’s defense team had “left no stone unturned” in their request for an
additional appeal hearing, but said the arguments raised did not justify further
discussion on the court’s ruling.
In November 2011, after the Supreme
Court rejected Katsav’s appeal against his conviction and sentence, his defense
team petitioned the court for extra time to file a request for a further appeal
The former president’s attorneys said grounds for further
discussion included legal difficulties with the conviction, including the
standard of evidence in a testimony-based conviction in which the decisive
factor had been something other than physical evidence or witness
Katsav’s defense team also argued that the main
complainant in the case, “Aleph” from the Tourism Ministry, had given fallacious
testimony, and that the former president had suffered a “trial by
In February, Katsav’s lawyers also asked to file two pieces of
additional evidence – a video recording and a photograph, both taken at a Ramat
Gan event for Persian Jews – that they said proved the former president was
telling the truth regarding his whereabouts at the time Aleph claims he raped
her for the first time.
However, in rejecting Katsav’s petition for an
additional hearing, Hayut said that the court only takes such steps in “rare and
unusual cases,” in order to avoid creating additional legal proceedings where
the law did not permit it.
The fact that a panel of justices had already
ruled unanimously to uphold the former president’s conviction, Hayut said,
“supports the rejection of this petition.”
Regarding the issue of the
testimony-based conviction, Hayut said that there had been nothing novel in the
court’s ruling on the Katsav case.
Hayut said that Katsav had not brought
any new claims when he alleged in his petition that the main complainant in the
case, Aleph from the Tourism Ministry, had given fallacious testimony. The
former president’s arguments, Hayut said, were in fact regarding the
complainant’s credibility, which the district court had already
The same was true of Katsav’s claims regarding his alibi at
the time of the first rape, Hayut said.
Concerning Katsav’s arguments
that he had suffered a “trial by media,” Hayut said that a “hostile public
atmosphere” towards the defendant, and even a “judgement” made by the media
while his trial is ongoing does not mean that a fair trial was not
The trial, Hayut said, was conducted and ruled on by a panel of
Regarding the two pieces of additional evidence
proposed by Katsav’s defense team, Hayut said such a request would anyway be
suitable only where the defense proposed a retrial, and could not be brought
into any additional appeal hearing.
Katsav is serving his prison sentence
in the Torah Division of the Ma’asiyahu Prison in Ramle.