Katsav’s verdict to be delivered in public

News organizations petition court, saying public has right to know regarding rape case; privacy of complaining woman to be maintained throughout.

Moshe Katsav 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Moshe Katsav 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Tel Aviv District Court decided on Sunday that Thursday’s verdict in former president Moshe Katsav’s sexual assault trial will be delivered publicly and not behind closed doors, as the trial has been held so far.
The decision came after several media organizations asked that the verdict be read publicly, instead of in camera, as previously planned.
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Katsav is charged with two cases of rape, indecent assault and sexual harassment.
A strict publication ban has been in place regarding the trial since proceedings began in June 2009. All arguments and witness testimonies were delivered without the presence of reporters, to protect the identities of the victims, all former employees of Katsav from his days as tourism minister and president.
Last week several news organizations, including Yediot Aharonot, Haaretz and the Israel Broadcasting Authority petitioned the court, saying that in the interest of the public’s right to know, the verdict be read publicly, while removing any details that would identify the plaintiffs.
Katsav’s lawyers expressed concern with the move, but deferred to the court’s decision.
There was no opposition from the state prosecutors, who are currently on strike.
“In an effort to balance between the principles of holding a free and open trial and protecting the anonymity of victims of sex crimes and in light of the stage in which the proceedings stand – post testimony and closing arguments and prior to the verdict reading – and with intent to preserve the reason that the trial was held behind closed doors to begin with, we decide the following,” read the decision by Judges George Kara, Miriam Sokolow and Yehudit Shevah.
“The hearing on 30.12.2010 will be open to the public and during it, the major parts of the verdict will be read aloud, while protecting the privacy of the plaintiffs and preventing their identity from being revealed, as well as injury to the privacy of others.”