JERUSALEM (JTA) — The start of former Israeli President Moshe Katsav’s prison sentence on rape and sexual assault convictions will be delayed pending his appeal.
The ruling Wednesday by Israel’s Supreme Court delayed Katsav’s seven-year term, which had been scheduled to begin May 8.
Katsav’s defense team said during the hearing that the ex-president would not flee punishment and does not pose a danger to society.
"It cannot be said that prospects for Katsav’s appeal are baseless, and this is being said without concluding anything on the matter," Justice Yoram Danziger ruled, according to Ynet.
The 300-page appeal suggested that it would be undignified for Katsav to show up at the Supreme Court for his appeal in handcuffs, according to reports. The appeal also asked that "weighty consideration should be given to the fact that Katsav served as the president of the State and Israel’s official representative at home and abroad."
The conviction was handed down in the Tel Aviv District Court in December.
Katsav also was ordered to pay more than $28,000 to the rape victim and about $7,000 to the sexual assault victim. He was ordered to serve two years of probation after his release from prison.
Two years before the verdict was handed down, Katsav declined what was seen as a lenient plea bargain — one that dropped the rape charges for lesser charges and likely would have left him with a suspended sentence — saying that he wanted to clear his name in court.