Former president Moshe Katsav in court 311.
(photo credit: Alex Kolomoiski / Pool)
The Supreme Court on Sunday granted former president Moshe Katsav’s defense team
more time to file its request for an additional appeal hearing before an
extended panel of justices.
Katsav story is no Shakespearean tragedyAnalysis:
Katsav remains defiant
Supreme Court registrar Guy Shani announced
his decision to extend the deadline for the request until January 8 – adding 45
days to the original 15 allowed by the court – after state prosecutors gave
their consent to the move.
The former head of state was unanimously
convicted in the Tel Aviv District Court a year ago of two counts of rape, two
counts of sexual harassment and an indecent act using force and obstruction of
justice, and sentenced to seven years in prison.
Katsav appealed against
both his conviction and sentence.
However, last month
, a panel of three
Supreme Court justices – Miriam Naor, Edna Arbel and Salim Joubran – ruled
unanimously that the district court’s verdict was sound and that Katsav would
serve the seven-year prison term.
“A deep sadness falls over the State of
Israel because a person who was a minister in the government, the deputy prime
minister and the president of the state carried out these acts,” the ruling
Last week, Katsav’s lawyers – Avigdor Feldman, Zion Amir, Mickey
Hoba and Avraham Lavie – asked for extra time to formulate their arguments
against the Supreme Court’s rejection of Katsav’s appeal.
president’s defense team said that, after studying the ruling, they believe
there are grounds for further discussion before an extended panel of
While the Supreme Court normally sits with a panel of three
justices, its president or deputy president may expand that panel to any uneven
On rare occasions, the court may also hold an “additional
hearing,” in which a panel of five or seven justices will rehear an appeal that
was already decided upon by a smaller panel.
In an interview with Channel
1 last week, Feldman said the former president was still “fighting for his
innocence” and that his legal team would try to convince the Supreme Court
“there was room for further discussion” about his appeal.
team did not include a request to delay the imposition of the former president’s
prison sentence until the Supreme Court decides whether to allow him a further
hearing. Regardless of that decision, Katsav will begin his prison term on
December 7 and is expected to share a cell in the religious wing of Ramle’s
Ma’asiyahu Prison with former minister Shlomo Benizri.