Katsav seeks presidential pardon on rape conviction


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav requested a presidential pardon to appeal his rape conviction.

Katsav’s wife, Gila, filed the request with the Justice Ministry. It will be forwarded to President Shimon Peres.

Katsav, 65, is serving a seven-year jail sentence for his conviction on two counts of rape and other sexual offenses. He entered prison in December.

His petition reportedly asks for a pardon so that he can appeal the conviction and clear his name from outside of prison. It also says that Katsav did not get a fair trial and that having to resign as president was punishment enough.

He reportedly has not expressed remorse for his crime, which is necessary for receiving a pardon. 

Prisoners convicted of rape and other sexual violence must undergo a rehabilitation program; Katsav currently is not participating, according to Haaretz. His appeal as currently tendered likely will be rejected by Peres, according to reports.

Katsav is the first Israeli president sentenced to prison. Israel’s Supreme Court upheld his rape conviction and prison sentence last November.

He resigned in the wake of the allegations shortly before the end of his term in 2007 and was succeeded by Peres.

Katsav, who immigrated to Israel from Iran in 1951, was elected president by the Knesset in 2000 in an upset over Peres. 

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