Former president of Israel Moshe Katsav.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Israel Prisons Service (IPS) has an established process for releasing detainees on parole that former president Moshe Katsav would have to endure, just like any other prisoner. Katsav, who was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison for rape, is waiting to see if the state prosecution will appeal his parole, which was granted this past Sunday, five years into his sentence.
If the prosecution declines to file an appeal, Katsav, 71, will be released next Sunday, but must first go through the prison service’s exit process, which includes meetings with the cell block commander, his social worker and prisons services officers. If the prosecution does file an appeal, Katsav’s release will be delayed until the court reaches a decision, which could take over a week.
“Once the court decides to release him, and only when the prison service gets the order, does the IPS starts the whole process,” said IPS representative Chana Harbash.
The former president was convicted in December 2010 of two counts of rape, one count of committing an indecent act using force, one count of committing an indecent act, two counts of sexual harassment, one count of harassing a witness and one count of obstructing justice.
Since 2011, Katsav has been jailed in the Ma’asiyahu Prison in Ramle, Israel’s largest prison for minimum-security prisoners. It houses over 1,000 inmates and has housed a number of former politicians, including Shas MK Shlomo Benizri, Interior Minister Arye Deri and former prime minister Ehud Olmert.
Once released, Katsav will pack up his bag and retrieve any belongings left in the hands of the IPS. Katsav will also have to return any IPS equipment in his possession, like his prisoner uniform.
The cell block commander will conduct the process of identification and Katsav will have the opportunity to air any complaints he has about his treatment in the prison. At the meeting, Katsav will receive a prisoner release booklet with the 22 conditions of his release, including mandatory meetings and dates that Katsav must report back to IPS.
Notable conditions of Katsav’s release include mandatory daily Torah classes at a yeshiva in his hometown, attendance at religious-rehabilitation group once a week, meeting with a psychologist weekly and a ban on being interviewed by the media until December 2018.
After meeting with the cell block commander, Katsav will then meet with the IPS intelligence officer. The content of their discussion has not been disclosed; however, any security issues relating to Katsav, including threats, will be discussed.
The meeting that could potentially last the longest will be with his social worker, who will assess Katsav’s mental state. “It depends on how much they have to talk to him and how long the social worker wants to talk to him to make sure [Katsav’s] mental state is okay,” Harbash said.
After Katsav completes this process, he will be able to walk through the prison gates – likely to be greeted by his family and hordes of media.Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this report.