Moshe Katsav goes to court
Photo: Yaron Brener
After we are exposed to some terrifying crime or outrageous offence, we always see people who immediately demand the death penalty (by burning) or at least a life sentence without parole. None of these people usually sat in prison themselves for even a day. Their demands often stem from a sense of vengefulness and even from fear of the darkness in their own soul.
Former president convicted of rape enters final stages of trial. Prosecutors to demand considerable jail time, defense to motion for mitigated sentence
I once stayed one night in prison at the Russian Compound in Jerusalem. It was an open, cold cell with wet blankets and a hole in the floor. I tasted very little of prison and I shall never forget it. Hence, what I am about to write does not constitute mercifulness towards Moshe Katsav or pity for a sinner. Rather, it’s about the humanity that exists within all of us.
I do not support a lengthy prison term for Katsav. I am not a judge and I won’t say how many years I think he should serve. In my view, the man will be gravely punished even if he doesn’t spend the rest of his life in prison. He is 66-years-old, and even if he is released from jail at the age of 70, his life will be behind him.
Just like I’m not in favor of the death penalty to murderers or neutering rapists, I do not endorse the American system whereby a person will spend the rest of his life in prison and even be buried there because of a grave sin. This applies to any person, including Moshe Katsav.
Full deterrence achieved
I was an enthusiastic supporter of his trial process and the justice that was done. I was horrified by the battle he put up, by the tactics of his lawyers, and by the manner he conducted himself to the point of almost evading punishment. I despised his lies and manipulations and there was not one moment where I felt mercy or compassion for him. He did not allow for it.
Katsav did not offer a hint of regret or catharsis of empathy for the victims. Rather, he fought to the end based on the argument that he is innocent of any crime. The very thought of admitting sin to his children and friends appeared too terrifying and intolerable to him. Hence, his collapse is more grave than usual.
His coercive and ugly relationship with the women involved in the trial was fully exposed. Rare justice was done here. The former president was tried and the full extent of his wrongdoing was revealed. Even if he is jailed for just a few years, deterrence had been fully achieved.
When he walks out of prison, at the age of 70 or more, Katsav will be so beaten and weaken, and his image would be so devastated that he will constitute no danger even to the people close to him.
Justice had been achieved to an extent we are not used to seeing in respect to senior, powerful figures. I am content with that.
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