Moshe Katsav requests pardon on rape conviction

Former president files request to Peres; Katsav has reportedly not expressed remorse for crime.

Moshe Katsav walking into court 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post))
Moshe Katsav walking into court 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post))
Former president Moshe Katsav requested on Monday a pardon from current President Shimon Peres regarding his seven-year sentence for rape and other sexual offenses.
Katsav’s wife, Gila, submitted his request to the Office of Pardons division of the Office of the President.
The President’s Office said the request would not be given better or worse treatment than any other pardon request, but would be dealt with “according to the accepted protocol.”
Katsav, 66, is serving his sentence at Ma’asiyahu Prison, near Ramle, for his conviction on two counts of rape, two counts of sexual harassment, and other sexual offenses and obstruction of justice, which started in December 2011.
According to media reports, his petition asks for a pardon in order to clear his name and, in some unspecified manner, to try to overturn his conviction on the grounds that he did not get a fair trial.
Reports also indicated that he contended that having to resign as president was punishment enough.
This last argument is hard to define and could have new life and even be a reason for the timing of the pardon request in light of the recent court decision granting former prime minister Ehud Olmert a lenient sentence in large part based on citing Olmert’s having to resign as prime minister as sufficient punishment.
However, media reports also indicate that he has not expressed remorse for his crimes, generally a prerequisite for receiving a pardon.
The Office of the President did not provide much information or respond to inquiries beyond confirming receipt of the request.
Katsav has no apparent road to appeal, having already appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court and lost in a decision that was not considered close in November 2011.
Katsav also has already taken the unusual step of asking the attorney-general to reopen the case on the grounds of newly discovered evidence, which was also rejected in April.
Whereas Olmert was convicted of breach of public trust in the Investment Center Affair, one of the most minor financial- related crimes on the books and one that does not physically harm anyone, Katsav was convicted of rape, one of the most severe crimes on the books and a crime that physically harms a person.
In that light, Peres is expected to reject Katsav’s request.
Katsav, who immigrated to Israel from Iran in 1951, was elected president by the Knesset in 2000.
Katsav beat out Peres, the man who replaced him upon his resignation in 2007.
Katsav is the first president of the state ever sentenced to prison.