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Media able to spill innocent blood. Katsav Photo: Haim Zach
Media able to spill innocent blood. Katsav Photo: Haim Zach
 
 

Convicted without trial

Despite embarrassing speech, President Katsav entitled to fair trial

Uri Porat
Published: 01.27.07, 14:48 / Israel Opinion

Even if President Katsav was none other than a reincarnation of the Marquis de Sade or a sex maniac of the ilk of Bluebeard's fairytales, or a serial rapist no less dangerous than Benny Sela – even then he would be entitled to a fair trial and not a lynching at the market square.

 

This demand, which he expressed in his speech, is to a large extent justified, as even before he had his hearing before the attorney

general and before the decision to indict him was finalized there were already those who convicted him without a trial and are now demanding that he be immediately removed from the presidential residence.

 

The pre-indictment procedures have already taken place in accordance with the law, but we have already seen courts in Israel close cases that the police and Prosecutor's Office launched against public figures (for example, Yaakov Neeman, Meir Sheetrit, or Rafael Eitan.)

 

We also saw how former State Prosecutor Edna Arbel launched a case against Ariel Sharon over suspicions of taking a bribe in the Greek Island Affair, but later that same case was closed by Attorney General Mazuz as if it never existed.

 

Even the media, with all due respect, has proven in the past that it is able to spill innocent blood when it has someone in its sights, for example, that pile of evil reports against Sarah and Benjamin Netanyahu that ultimately amounted to nothing.

 

And now, even though no judge has found President Katsav guilty of anything, there are those who are running around the Knesset collecting signatures and demanding that he be impeached immediately. Even judge Mishael Cheshin, who until very recently was the Supreme Court's deputy chief justice, spoke out on this matter and noted that President Katsav was convicted even before he was tried.

 

President fails to present evidence

At the same time, the press conference held by the president was a blatant error. He should have kept in mind that he is still the president. As such, his outburst against the police, prosecutor's office, the media, and his former secretaries can be interpreted as turning Israel into "darkness unto the nations."

 

It was embarrassing and at times shameful to see how the President's Office has turned into a legal wrestling arena, while for the time being there is no trial. Such severe accusations on the part of the president had to be premised not only on interpretation, but rather, also on highly convincing evidence, yet because such evidence was absent from Katsav's rebuke, some viewed it as libel.

 

One way or another, we can understand the feelings of the president, who fell, or was brought down, or brought himself down from the highest peak to the current nadir. After all, a person of his stature is not regularly accused of these types of disgraceful offenses.

 

Therefore, and also because a person should not be judged at a time of sorrow, it would be better if at least until the hearing, which is the first step (or last step) in the legal procedure that just got under way, we won't be hearing the sound of hammer blows coming from the Knesset, where they're already enthusiastically constructing the scaffold. 

 

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