Serial rapist Moshe Katsav 311 AP.
(photo credit: AP)
The pleas for sentencing in former president Moshe Katsav’s trial will be held
behind closed doors, after Tel Aviv District Court Judge George Karra on Monday
denied media requests to be allowed into the courtroom to hear the sides’
arguments for a stiff or lenient punishment.
However, Karra and the other
judges, Miriam Sokolow and Judith Shevach, agreed to allow the media to attend
the hearing at which the court is due to announce the sentence, provided the
identity of the victims remained secret. The judges also agreed to make the
transcript of Katsav’s testimony and those of other witnesses public after the
courts finished sentencing him.
The pre-sentencing arguments are
scheduled to begin on February 22 and are expected to take place over several
In December, Katsav was convicted on two counts of rape, indecent
assault, sexual harassment and other violations.
With the exception of a
censored version of the full ruling to convict Katsav, almost no transcripts of
court proceedings have been released, and the entire trial was held behind
closed doors. The state said the veil of secrecy was meant to keep secret the
identities of the women who had complained about Katsav and testified in court
about his sexual advances.
Even though the state attorney consented to
allow the media to be present during the portions of the trial that did not
mention the victims’ identity, Karra and his fellow judges refused the media’s
request, explaining that an accidental slip of the tongue might reveal the
victims’ identity, which they wanted to protect at any cost.
state’s current position, we don’t adopt its attitude, because the system
proposed by the state is impractical and does not ensure full protection of the
privacy and identity of the victims,” Karra wrote. “A mistake of distraction or
a slip of the tongue by one of the witnesses, the parties or their attorneys
could cause severe harm to the victims.”
The full protocol of the trial
will not be made public, but the judges decided that they would selectively
release large portions of the transcripts, including that of Katsav’s testimony
and cross-examination, with the names and any details that may reveal the
victims’ identity edited out.