Katsav Released From Prison
Moshe Katsav, Israel’s eighth president, was be released from Matisyahu Prison Wednesday after the state prosecutor agreed not to appeal a Parole Board decision to release Katsav after serving five years of a seven-year term.
Katsav, 71, was convicted in December, 2010 on a range of charges including two counts of rape, sexual harassment, committing an indecent act while using force, harassing a witness and obstruction of justice. He began serving his term a year later, after a long string of appeals.
The state prosecutor’s office said in a statement that “after discussing the issue with all involved parties, the state prosecutor decided to accept their recommendation that there was no reason to appeal the decision [of the parole board]. After studying the parole board’s decision and the reasons behind it… there was no significant reason to appeal the decision because [this decision] does not radically depart from reasonable expectations.
“It should be clear that this decision in no way detracts from the prisoner’s actions, crimes for which the prosecutor demanded very harsh punishment. The attention that the prosecution and the legal establishment have given the case of former President Katsav proves that in the State of Israel the principle of ‘equal before the law’ applies to all. There is one law, applicable to the simplest person and to the president alike.
Under the terms of his release, Katsav will not be permitted to leave the country for two years or grant interviews to the media, and he must observe a 10 pm curfew. In addition, the court has ordered weekly therapy sessions for the former president, who is also forbidden from , and will not be able to serve in any position in which he oversees women.
Like the rest of the saga, Katsav’s parole was not without controversy. The former president was denied parole in 2013 and earlier this year release followed a decision last week to parole the former president in keeping with norms governing early releases: good behavior and serving at least two-thirds of a sentence. At the time, the parole board agreed to a state request to delay the release by one week in order to give prosecutors a chance to study the recommendation, but they ultimately decided against filing an appeal.
Women’s groups slammed the decision, calling the move a “slap in the face” to victims of sexual crimes, and Katsav was met by protesters as he took his first steps to freedom.