An Israeli court, on Thursday, found the country's former President, Moshe Katsav, guilty of rape and other sexual offenses. He was convicted on two charges of rape of an employee, Aleph, in the April 1998 while serving as the tourism minister for the country. He was also found guilty of sexual assault against ex-aide Heh and sexually harassing an 18-year-old Lamed Yod at the presidential residence, Beit HaNassi.
Katsav served as the head of the state from 2000 to 2007. He resigned from his post and was indicted in early 2009. The charges of rape are likely to attract a maximum sentence of 16 years according to Israeli law.
Katsav's testimony was riddled with lies, the three-judge panel at a Tel Aviv district court said in its ruling.
Israel's Jerusalem Post reported that Judge George Kara quoted the victim Aleph as saying: I knocked on the door, and he was wearing just a shirt, and came close to me. I told him 'enough stop,' but he continued for ten minutes.
Lamed Yod, the 18-year-old victim, complained that Katsav indulged her in sexual conversations and tried to kiss her. The women reportedly told the judges that the former president often forced them to write him love letters, in an attempt to fabricate evidence to controvert the allegations against him. For this reason, the court found Katsav for trying to obstruct justice. The judges also maintained that none of the women seemed to have a romantic affair with the former President.
Demonstrators from various women's organizations flocked the court hall on Thursday. Katsav's sons however, protested in the court as they shouted down the allegations against their father. They claimed that their father was innocent and maintained that they would still be proud of him.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stated that Katsav's trial was 'a sad day for the State of Israel.' At a Press Conference, opposition leader Tzipi Livni said, the day in which a public representative is found guilty of rape is not a simple day for the State of Israel.