Supreme Court: Katsav appeal will be in open court

The state had requested that the former President's appeal be heard behind closed doors to protect the privacy of the complainants.

By
July 31, 2011 18:03
1 minute read.
Former president Moshe Katsav

katsav appeal 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

The Supreme Court ruled Sunday that the appeal of former president Moshe Katsav will not be conducted behind closed doors.

Katsav’s attorneys had appealed a request by the state to hold the appeal in closed court. They opposed the state’s request on the grounds that the trial should be open to the public in order for them to “evaluate the evidence for themselves.”

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Tel Aviv court releases Katsav rape-trial transcripts

Katsav was convicted in December of two counts of rape, two counts of sexual harassment, an indecent act using force, and obstruction of justice. He has been sentenced to seven years in prison.

The former president’s rape trial was held behind closed doors in order to protect the identities of the complainants. The Tel Aviv District Court released full transcripts of the testimonies made during the trial earlier this month.

In ruling that Katsav’s appeal would be in open court, Justice Miriam Naor wrote: “We have considered the parties’ claims, and there is no doubt that the complainants’ privacy must be protected. However, it seems to us that at this stage, and given the wide publicity the District Court has already attracted, the hearing can and should be at least primarily in open court.”

Naor added that some hearings could be conducted in closed court at the request of either party or the court.

The justices also noted that representatives of the press had also submitted a response, arguing that the former president’s appeal should be conducted in open court.

“The journalists noted in their response that the proper manner in which to balance the various considerations of the parties is not to hold the appeal in closed court,” Naor said.

Journalists maintained that the press ought to be allowed to be present in the courtroom, and that gag orders would prevent them from publishing testimony of certain individuals. They also pointed out that details of the verdict and transcripts of testimony given by various witnesses has already been published.


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