Former Israeli president Katsav paroled from rape sentence | News | DW | 18.12.2016
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Former Israeli president Katsav paroled from rape sentence

Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav has been granted early release from prison after serving five years of a seven-year sentence. Katsav was convicted in 2010 on two counts of rape and other sexual offenses.

An Israeli parole board accepted an appeal on Sunday for early release from ex-President Moshe Katsav after serving over two-thirds of his seven-year sentence, his lawyer said.

"It was a very long journey," lawyer Tzion Amir said in remarks broadcast on Israeli army radio. "Today that journey reached its end with a reasoned decision by the parole committee."

The board had previously rejected two of Katsav's parole requests, in part because he had expressed no remorse over his crimes and had not taken part in rehabilitative programs.

In Sunday's decision, the board wrote that since his first failed hearing, Katsav had "benefited from prison therapy services and had regognized and regretted his actions against the women and the pain he had caused them."

His release is expected to be frozen for seven days to give prosecutors time to decide if they wish to appeal the decision, local media reported.

The 71-year-old disgraced former Israeli president first entered Ma'asayahu prison in 2011 after being convicted on two counts of rape and sexual harassment. He was also convicted of indecent acts and obstruction of justice.

One of the women, who the court identified as "A," was Katsav's office manager when he was the country's tourism minister in 1998.

He served as Israel's president from 2000 to 2007, and has repeatedly maintained his innocence.

Israel's presidency is a largely ceremonial office which is typically filled by an elder statesman expected to rise above politics and serve as a moral compass.

rs/rc (AP, AFP, dpa)