Ayelet Shaked, nouvelle ministre de la Justice.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said Monday she does not plan to intervene in any decision to parole or pardon former president Moshe Katsav.
Shaked firmly denied a Channel 10 report from over the weekend which said she and President Reuven Rivlin plan to pardon Katsav if the parole board – before which he is scheduled to appear this month – does not release him.
Katsav, who is in prison on rape and other sex offense charges, has served five years of his seven-year sentence.
“I’m glad I have a chance to explain the facts,” Shaked said at a conference hosted by online women’s magazine Onlife. “In the pardoning process, the justice minister sends an opinion to the president, and he can decide whether or not to accept the recommendation.
In 2012, the Justice Ministry recommended not to pardon Katsav.
“I personally was never asked to discuss the matter of Katsav and I never opened the case and reviewed the facts,” she added.
Shaked explained that the parole board is independent and led by a judge who weighs factors established in the law, including behavior in prison and rehabilitation. The fact that Katsav never admitted to his crimes or expressed regret is not a factor mentioned in law, Shaked added, though it is taken under consideration as part of a prisoner’s rehabilitation.
In addition, she explained, the criminal’s victims have the chance to tell the parole board why they think he should not be released early.
“We do not plan to intervene in the process in any way,” Shaked said. “After the process ends, the president has the authority to pardon any prisoner, and the president may make the appropriate decision in his eyes.”
On Sunday, Rivlin’s spokeswoman said the president does not support giving clemency to Katsav, and will discuss the possibility only if an appeal is directed to his office.
The public overwhelmingly opposes granting Katsav parole, according to a Knesset Channel-Panels poll. The poll found that 66 percent oppose releasing the former president early, while 20% support it.