Former president and convicted rapist Moshe Katsav maintained his innocence Wednesday in a statement he made on the day of his court summons to begin a seven-year sentence, saying that Israel is "burying a man alive."
"One day the truth will be uncovered," Katsav told a crowd of reporters outside his Kiryat Malachi home. "I don't know when, if it will be with you or without you, with me or without me."
"This country is sending a grandfather of grandchildren - a president of his country - to jail," Katsav said.
Katsav insisted that he "never hurt anyone," adding that in "five and a half years I have not seen justice."
"I do not ask for sympathy," he said. "But I request that my entire appeal be read. In it is my testimony. There, you can find my acquittal."
The former 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 Supreme Court upheld the Tel Aviv court's sentence following an appeal by Katsav's defense.
Joanna Paraszczuk contributed to this report.