News24

Ex-Israeli president jailed for rape

2011-12-07 13:21

Jerusalem - Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav entered a minimum security prison on Wednesday to start serving a seven-year sentence for rape, but not before defiantly accusing the state of Israel of "executing" an innocent man.

The day was a bittersweet one in Israeli history, at once shameful because the holder of such a lofty office was going behind bars for such a heinous crime, but at the same time a moment of honour because it proved that in Israel, even a president is equal before the law.

Katsav, 66, was convicted last December of raping a former female employee when he was a Cabinet minister and of sexually harassing two other women when he was president from 2000 to 2007.

The former president, who repeatedly has professed his innocence, remained free while he appealed his case, but the Supreme Court upheld the conviction in November and ordered him to prison.

TV footage showed him entering the Maasiyahu prison in central Israel, where he became the highest-ranking Israeli official ever to spend time behind bars.

Overwhelmed

Katsav looked agitated and overwhelmed as he ventured from his house in the southern town of Kiryat Malachi to address the hordes of journalists who had gathered there before he set off on the hour-long drive to Maasiyahu prison.

In a brief statement, Katsav accused authorities of ignoring evidence that he said could clear him but predicted that one day, "the truth will come to light".

"The state of Israel is executing a man today on the basis of impressions, without real time testimony, without evidence," Katsav railed. "One day, consciences will prick and you will see that you buried a man alive."

In the absence of forensic evidence, prosecutors built their case almost entirely on witness testimony. Legal experts say the similarities in the accounts of victims who did not know each other likely led to the conviction, in which the judges accused Katsav of lying.

Prison officials say he will be placed in a special section of Maasiyahu reserved for observant Jews and share a cell with Shlomo Benizri, a former Cabinet minister convicted of accepting bribes.

Officials said security would be beefed up around the president - both as part of a suicide watch placed on all new prisoners and to prevent other prisoners from harming him. Katsav's own lawyers have expressed concerns that the distraught politician might try to harm himself.

Israel's presidency is a largely ceremonial office, typically filled by a respected elder statesman expected to rise above politics and serve as a moral beacon. That made the allegations against Katsav all the more shocking.

Plea bargain

The case against Katsav broke in 2006 after he told police one of his accusers was trying to extort money from him. The lurid details stunned Israelis who had tended to see him more as a bland functionary than a predatory boss who repeatedly used his authority to force sexual favours.

The twists and turns of the case both riveted and appalled the country. In one memorable moment, the Iranian-born Katsav held a news conference to accuse prosecutors and the media of plotting his demise because he didn't belong to the country's European-descended elite.

Katsav reluctantly resigned two weeks before his seven-year term was to expire in 2007 under a plea bargain that would have allowed him to escape jail time. He then stunned the nation again by rejecting the plea bargain and vowing to prove his innocence in court.

He has said he did not regret that decision because it would have meant he confessed to a crime he did not commit.

Comments
  • Paul - 2011-12-07 14:29

    A zionist with western culture mentality.

  • Napolita - 2011-12-07 14:30

    Whoa...how does a story about imprisoning someone for a crime that has "nothing" to do with religion but somehow turn into a religious discussion?

  • Ask - 2011-12-07 14:36

    They never seize to amaze me... They raped Palestine an renamed it Israel... and now the ex Presidents are raping women... what next...

      Jaba - 2011-12-07 15:18

      Israelites were there 17th Century BCE. later the Assyrians raped the land, after that the Babylonian raped it, later it was raped by the Persians, in the year 332 Alexander the Great raped it, after Alexander came the Hasmoneans. Soon after that Roman general, Pompey conquered the land and raped it himself. then the Byzantine Empire, The Arab conquest of the Land came four years after the death of Muhammad – the Arabs continued to rape the land until the Crusaders took over. Than the Mamluks, than the Ottoman Empire, lastly the British raped the land - after which, in 1948 the Jews came back home - and as promised in the New & Old Testament and in the Koran - the land again turned green. PS. The Palestinians don’t come up in the history of the land because there was never a Palestinian state FACT (The Arabs were just known as Arabs on the land – not as Palestinians). It was a land controlled by the English where the Palestinians were recognised as the Jews by the English empire.

      Fred - 2011-12-07 15:21

      Tell me Ask, when King David was king of Israel, who was the king of Palestine? When Jesus lived in Israel who was the King of Palestine? Why does it say in the Koran that Israel belongs to the Jews?

      Boaz - 2011-12-07 15:52

      So true Jaba. Sadly they will never look back at history as it goes against everything they believe in. hate blinds them from the facts on the ground.

      Ask - 2011-12-07 16:09

      My my, I really pinched a few nerves... @ Jaba - I was under the impression that the Arabs were the coloureds of the ME... Clearly I was mistaken... based on your response; you guys were raped so often, I can understand now how F#$% up you guys are... is that why you have no mercy in your hearts? Is that why you are not interested in sharing 'Israel' We can argue until we are both blue in the face whether the Jewish people have lawful entitlement based on these scriptures - it means nothing. Palestine was a STATE - FACT... Blame the British... wherever they set foot; they screwed up big time - look how they raped India... I see the Indians and Pakistanis are now returning the compliment in UK. That is not the issue... the issue is based on Religious principles of love - you are an ungrateful lot... even Moses was disappointed in your behaviour.. when He went up the Mountain to receive the 10 Commandments; after you witnessed the Lords favours to the 'tribe' of the Israelites and when he freed your people from slavery... what you guys did - you worshipped the calf... that is how ungrateful you are... you are not interested in Peace; you never were. I am not anti-Jewish; I never was and will never be... I am not anti-Israel; I do believe that the Jewish people are entitled to land; I am against how the whole process started since 1894... and how the land was allocated.

      Ask - 2011-12-07 16:11

      @Fred - you are a 'drol' I beg your your pardon... a troll; your response makes no sense... did you READ my response... what has religion and Kings have to do with the issue at hand... Read my response and I'm surprised you have a following that agreed with you... don't behave like JM...

      Iwan - 2011-12-07 16:46

      Ask, I think Fred asked a valid question, and unfortunately your response to Jaba doesn't answer his question. Also, just out of interest sake, from your perspective, was Moses a Israeli/Jew/Muslim/Palestinian?

      Martin - 2011-12-07 16:56

      @Ask You say "they raped Palestine an renamed it Israel" and then you say "I am not anti-Israel; I do believe that the Jewish people are entitled to land". Makes no sense at all. One thing is clear from your spell of ranting: your hatred of Israel and Jews.

      Ask - 2011-12-07 17:13

      @Iwan - I beg your pardon; please enlighten me; how in Heaven's was Fred's question valid.... how is his response valid to the point I raised... someone is smoking 'tik' Please enlighten me, how I missed Jaba's question...

      Ask - 2011-12-07 17:20

      @Martin - Perhaps you read it again and again... and again... Now you are behaving like a 'box' - I hate nobody... I believe there are only two types of people in this world, irrespective of the religion you follow (or not); there are Good people and there are Bad people... if you not happy with my response, then perhaps you should your answers elsewhere...

      Ask - 2011-12-07 17:22

      @Iwan - the answer to your question - who was Moses; He was Black Man from North Africa...

      Caaqil Mahadale - 2011-12-07 17:53

      @ask, plz, could these brainwashed and illitrate jewish peope, who was living in that holy land, before father ABRAHAM immigrated from BABIL( A town in iraq ), bcos we know abraham was the father of JACOB(israil) , or may be it was not other people in this world.!!!.

      Caaqil Mahadale - 2011-12-07 19:16

      @ ask ,thanks a lot brother for your time ,telling them these correct and beautifull history ,may be they need more lectures and presentations on their true history and what kind of people they are ... Fantastic lecture.,

  • Adam - 2011-12-07 16:53

    so sick of arab logic. you fools cant even live in peace amounst your selves, and you think have the right to comment on other people. dam you people are stupid

  • Rashaad Hendricks - 2011-12-07 20:38

    This is awesome a politician actually going to jail. Wish our politicians could expect the the same when they mess up

  • Ziyaad - 2011-12-08 08:24

    @ Jaba - you know very little. you quote that Israelites were there around the 17th Century. Most of the "Israelis" occupying Palestine (calling it Israel) are all European Zionists. And btw, the Israelites of the Bible were Arabs!!! Moses took them across the Red Sea (all Arab Land)! Go research the origions of the Israeli Prime Ministers...almost all of them are European!!! They not Arab Jews! Zionists are no different to Nazis. They are racists!

      Fidel - 2011-12-08 08:32

      A principal component of Zionism is racism, in the form of the belief held by Zionists that Jews constitute a race (or ethnic group or however they see themselves) superior to all others, and in particular to those, the Palestinians, who lived on the land that the Zionists stole from them in 1948 (under the pretext of the land having been given to them by the United Nations) and subsequently.

  • Fred - 2011-12-08 11:08

    Top 10 Anti-Israel Lies 2010, Simon Wiesenthal Centre http://www.wiesenthal.com/atf/cf/%7B54d385e6-f1b9-4e9f-8e94-890c3e6dd277%7D/2010%20TOP%20TEN%20ANTI-ISRAEL%20LIES%20PDF.PDF Three thousand years before the Holocaust, before there was a Roman Empire, Israel’s kings and prophets walked the streets of Jerusalem. The whole world knows that Isaiah did not speak his prophesies from Portugal, nor Jeremiah his lamentations from France. Revered by its people, Jerusalem is mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures 600 times - but not once in the Koran. Throughout its 2,000-year exile there was continuous Jewish presence in the Holy Land, with the modern rebirth of Israel beginning in the 1800s. Reclamation of the largely vacant land by pioneering Zionists blossomed into a Jewish majority long before the onset of Nazism. After the Holocaust, nearly 200,000 Shoah survivors found haven in the Jewish State, created by a two-thirds vote of the UN in 1947. Soon 800,000 Jews fleeing persecution in Arab countries arrived. In ensuing decades, Israel absorbed a million immigrants from the Soviet Union and thousands of Ethiopian Jews. Today, far from being a vestige of European guilt or colonialism, Israel is a diverse, cosmopolitan society, fulfilling the age-old dream of a people’s journey and ‘Return to Zion’- their ancient homeland.

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