Shendar: Rape charges against Katsav possible

Former state attorney: Katsav has likely worsened his state; Gal-On: Mazuz should leave case.

shendar 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
shendar 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
The new indictment against former president Moshe Katsav is likely to include rape allegations, former state attorney Eran Shendar indicated on Wednesday. "Throughout the discussions over a plea bargain, the attitude was that if there was no deal, [we] would file an indictment based mostly on the account provided by 'Tourism Ministry Aleph'...the original version of which definitely included rape charges," he told Army Radio. "I agree with those who feel [Katsav] may very well have worsened his condition," he said. Shendar was highly involved in the decision to sign a plea bargain with Katsav last year, a deal Katsav called off on Tuesday. The former state attorney noted that fervent denials by those accused of sexual offences were very common, saying that "almost as if according to mathematical formula, they will claim [the accusations are] false, try to slander the plaintiff and fight for their innocence. Statistically, most of these cases end in conviction." Asked whether the state prosecution had not hurt its case by stating repeatedly that there were problems with the testimonies of the plaintiffs, Shendar said: "When I say the attitude was to file [the indictment], we certainly believed there was a reasonable basis [of evidence] for conviction, despite the difficulties with the evidence, which we did not lose sight of." "When we speak of difficulties with evidence, we haven't seen the plaintiff on the witness stand, we haven't seen her eyes, we haven't seen the signs of truth," he added. Also Wednesday, MK Zehava Gal-On (Meretz) called on Attorney General Menahem Mazuz to end his involvement in the Katsav case, as he has "lost the trust of the plaintiffs and Katsav." Gal-On said Mazuz should leave the case to State Attorney Moshe Lador. Only by doing this could the public's faith in the justice system be restored, she said. Meanwhile, sources in the state prosecution said Wednesday that the reworked indictment would probably be filed after Pessah.