Seven Years in Prison for Katzav (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) by Hillel Fendel 03/22/11)
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Former President Moshe Katzav was sentenced to seven years in prison
this morning, after having been convicted on two charges of rape.
The three-judge panel of the Tel Aviv District Court, headed by Judge
George Kara, handed down the sentence, though, unlike the conviction,
it was not unanimous. Judges Kara and Miriam Sokolov´s view overrode
that of Judge Yehudit Shevah, who favored four years in prison.
This is the first time in Israel´s history that a former president,
prime minister or official of comparable standing has been sentenced
to prison. Katzav must also compensate the women who filed the
complaints against him to the total sum of 125,000 shekels.
Katzav, who has professed his innocence throughout the case,
interrupted the reading of the sentence twice, calling out to the
judges in a broken voice, "You know that this trial is a lie, and you
are contributing to the culture of lying. It is all a farce."
He is likely to appeal to the Supreme Court. In any event, his
prison term will not begin immediately, but rather in approximately a
month from now.
Case Started with Blackmail Attempt
Notably, the case was first brought to the attention of the law
enforcement agencies in Israel by Katzav himself. In the summer of
2006, he complained that one of the women who later filed the
complaint against him was threatening and blackmailing him.
When the conviction was handed down three months ago, one of the
judges wrote in his ruling a sentence that gave some hope to Katzav
and his attorneys: "The misery that the defendant experienced, and
the long period that has passed, are considerations that should be
taken into account when determining his sentence."
His Word Against Hers
The conviction and even the charges themselves were a matter of great
controversy from a legal standpoint, in that no evidence was
presented against Katzav. It was rather a case of his word against
hers - and the judges chose to believe her, convicting the man who
was a former Knesset Member, Transportation Minister and President on
two counts of rape.
In fact, it was this element of the case that led several leading
rabbis to write their famous "Rabbis´ Letter" in support of Katzav.
Contrary to popular understanding, the rabbis´ letter was not only
never meant to be publicized, but did not show support for Katzav as
a convicted rapist - but rather criticism for the manner in which he
Amnon Shomron, Katzav´s media advisor, said this morning that Katzav
never enjoyed the presumption of innocence among the media. "There
was a media campaign against him that crossed all red lines," he said.
Legal experts do not expect Katzav to win his appeal in the Supreme
Court, but it is expected that he will turn to the country´s highest
court in any event, if only for the sake of his wife, three sons,
daughter and brother. (© IsraelNN Syndications 03/22/11)
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