Moshe Katsav 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The State Attorney’s Office on Tuesday demanded a lengthy prison term for former
president and convicted rapist Moshe Katsav, while the defense argued in favor
of a suspended sentence only.
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Both sides made their arguments in a
four-hour closeddoor sentencing hearing at Tel Aviv District Court. Sentencing
was scheduled for March 8, which, coincidentally or not, is International
In December, Katsav was convicted of two counts of rape,
indecent assault and sexual harassment, all committed against women who were
under his employ when he was tourism minister and later
According to a protocol summary issued to the press by the
Courts Administration after the hearing, the state in its arguments focused on
the severity of Katsav’s crimes, offenses which they claimed were all the more
severe because of his high status, the fact that he committed the deeds by
exploiting his authority over his subordinates, and the repetitive nature of the
The prosecution described the injury suffered by the victims as a
result of the acts, reading mainly from an evaluation conducted of the rape
victim, “Aleph,” who worked for Katsav when he was tourism minister.
state claimed that there were no mitigating factors to consider, since Katsav
never expressed regret for his deeds, nor did he attempt to spare the
complaining women from having to testify.
The prosecution added that
Katsav’s clean criminal record should not be considered since he had committed
the offenses repeatedly, as was established in the judges’ December
They also argued that his fall from grace should not be a
mitigating factor because of the principle of equality before the law, because
his actions had disgraced the presidency and because he had taken advantage of
his elevated position to commit the offenses.
The prosecution agreed that
the public denunciations and media campaign against Katsav could somewhat
mitigate the sentence, but that it should only carry limited
After surveying the sentence considerations, the state said
Katsav should receive a “lengthy prison term,” a suspended sentence, a fine, and
to obligate him to pay considerable compensation to his
According to the summary, Katsav’s lawyers chose to highlight
the injustice done to Katsav as a result of his being prejudged by both the
media and the public. The defense emphasized the demonization, hate and ridicule
suffered by Katsav during the last four years, saying it was unprecedented in
Israel’s judicial history.
His attorneys argued that media cove rage,
intentional leaks and statements made about Katsav by public officials,
including the attorney-general, justify a lenient sentence for Katsav, who, they
claimed, did not receive a fair trial.
The defense team referred to
Katsav as a “living corpse,” branded forever with the mark of Cain on his
forehead, with no chance of ever rehabilitating his reputation.
defense reportedly also complained about the conviction itself, claiming that at
worst, Katsav had “stumbled” in committing deeds that took advantage of his
Katsav’s lawyers also attacked the victim report presented by
the prosecution, claiming that it contradicted other statements made in the
course of the hearings and the trial.
The defense lawyers also presented
the court with a summary of Katsav’s 40 years of distinguished public service
and good works.
The defense team concluded with a request that the
ex-president not be sent to prison.
The former president waived his right
to speak directly to the court and both sides decided not to call in witnesses
to back up their arguments.
Katsav’s lawyers did, however, submit a
letter written by his children as well as two CDs featuring events held in
Katsav’s honor during his time as president, in which his public accomplishments
The judges, George Karra, Judith Shevach and Miriam
Sokolow, now have two weeks to digest the information.
The judges have a
wide range of discretion; while the law currently demands a minimum four-year
sentence for rape, Katsav’s crimes were committed before the law came into
effect and therefore it does not apply to him.
Unlike most of the trial,
which has been conducted behind closed doors, the sentencing will be open to the