katsav in court wistful 311.
(photo credit: Lior Mizrahi/ Pool)
The appeal of former President Moshe Katsav, sentenced by the Tel Aviv District
Court to seven years in prison following his conviction in March on charges of
rape, sexual harassment and obstruction of justice, will be heard starting
August 8, the Courts Administration announced on Monday.
selected to hear the appeal are Supreme Court Justices Miriam Naor, Edna Arbel
and Salim Joubran.
Prosecution demands Katsav to be treated like any other felon
Last week, Supreme Court Justice Yoram Danziger ruled
that Katsav would remain free until the end of his appeal, following a request
by his lawyers for a stay. The ruling raised the ire of women’s rights groups,
which felt that Katsav was being given preferential treatment, arguing that he
should be treated like any sex offender.
It also raised questions about
part of Katsav’s conviction, which could have a bearing on the outcome of his
Danziger identified several judicial decisions by the district
court panel, which, if interpreted differently by the Supreme Court, could lead
to his acquittal on the rape charge. Key to this could be the judges’ decision
not to consider a secondary defense presented by Katsav’s lawyers – although not
by Katsav himself – that he did not use force, but rather his seniority, to
commit the offense.
If this argument is considered and found to be
grounded in fact, the judges might acquit him of rape, wrote Danziger. So far,
Katsav has denied having had sex with the victims, which is why the district
court judges refused to deliberate the secondary defense.
convicted of having twice raped Alef, his head of office at the Tourism
Ministry, once in a hotel room and once in his office. His lawyers based their
defense on disputing Alef’s testimony, providing as evidence, among other
things, the diaries of Katsav and a staff member, who Katsav supposedly was
meeting with at the time of the offense. The judges ruled out using the
diaries, reasoning that they could have been tampered with.
Administration instructed lawyers for both sides to schedule August 8, 10 and 11
for the hearings, but to hold aside August 15 and 16 as well.