Katsav is still appealing for early release– maybe

Court gives lawyer 3 days to convince former president to appeal.

May 16, 2016 20:25
2 minute read.
Former president of Israel Moshe Katsav

Former president of Israel Moshe Katsav. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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In a likely unprecedented move, Moshe Katsav's lawyer Zion Amir filed a motion Monday to extend the period in which he can appeal the parole board's April 6 decision not to grant him an early release in order to convince the former president to approve the appeal.

The Lod District Court approved the request on Monday within hours of its filing.

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Amir wrote the court that the appeal is finished and he had expected to file it on Sunday, the deadline for appealing.

However, at the last second, Katsav surprised him and asked him not to file the appeal, saying he was unable to deal with another media circus surrounding the appeal and having lost hope that he can succeed.

Amir asked for a mere four day extension until May 19, but the request along with the blunt informing the court that he needed the time to change Katsav’s mind to get on-board with his own appeal may put the motion in the record books for the surreal.

He had asked to be released early after having served approximately two-thirds of a seven-year sentence for rape.

The former president was convicted 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. He entered Ma’asiyahu in December 2011.

Katsav's lawyers said he believed that it was a mistake not to appeal the decision which he has called heavily flawed numerous times.

Simultaneously and separate from any track within the courts, Katsav has filed a request to President Reuben Rivlin to commute his sentence.

Numerous rumors that Rivlin would commute the sentence have arisen periodically over the last two months, with Rivlin quashing them each time, saying only that Katsav’s request would be considered like any other prisoner’s request.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked has been more in Katsav’s court or at least neutral whereas her predecessor, Tzipi Livni, was vehemently opposed to any early release for Katsav.

According to media reports, the former president suffered a major deterioration in his physical and mental condition following the parole board’s rejection of his request.

Despite those reports, Katsav was permitted to leave Massiyahu prison with his wife Gila on the eve of Passover to spend Seder with his family in Kiryat Malachi and did not exhibit manifestations of depression in photographs of his leaving the prison.

The parole board rejected his early release request writing, "before us is a prisoner who denies that he committed the crimes, who continues to claim his innocence despite the court decisions...which was manifested in his appearance before us."

The question of an early release has split the public with most politicians, especially female politicians, demanding he serve his full-time, but some top legal scholars, like former supreme court president Aharon Barak, saying he should be released at this point.

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