Former President Moshe Katsav has been ordered to spend seven years in prison by the Supreme Court of Israel while rejecting his appeal of a rape conviction and other sex crimes.
The three-judge panel gave a unanimous decision making Katsav, 65, the highest-ranking Israeli official ever sentenced to prison.
In December 2010, he was convicted of two counts of rape, sexual harassment, indecent acts and obstruction of justice. It involved raping a former employee when he was a Cabinet minister and sexually harassing two other women during his term as president from 2000 to 2007.
He was sentenced to seven years jail in March, his appeal to which was rejected by the court. Ruling that their testimonies were reliable while the former president's was not, the judges rejected his appeal over a second count of rape against another woman and other charges of sexual harassment against two more women.
Meanwhile Avigdor Feldman, Katsav's attorney, said he “did not agree” with the outcome of the appeal. He faulted the judges for believing the rape victim in spite of serious holes in her testimony. They would have believed her if she said the rape occurred on Venus,” Feldman said.
This Supreme Court ruling confirms that in the state of Israel, all are equal before the law,” said prosecutor Naomi Granot seeing it as a triumph for the Israeli legal system.
The former president “fell from the loftiest heights to the deepest depths,” Judge Salim Joubran told the court. “Such a senior official should be a role model to his subordinates. Every woman has a right to her own body. A right to dignity. A right to freedom. No one has the liberty to take any of those from her.”