Former Israeli president Moshe Katsav, currently serving a seven year sentence for rape and other sexual offenses, left prison Friday for a 48-hour furlough for the Passover holiday. This is the first time his request for a furlough for holiday purposes has been granted.
His wife, Gila Katsav, welcomed him at the gates of Matisyahu Prison, and the two left hand in hand. Katzav refused to take question and made doing with wishing the reporters and supporters present a "happy holiday."
Last year Katsav also requests to be with his family, but was refused. Katsav, like many other criminals, is given a leave once a month, conditioned on his good behavior. During this times, he is permitted a monthly house visit for a 72-hour stretch during which time he does not have to be on house arrest.
In September 2013, Katsav recived his first leave since he began serving his sentence some two years prior. He spent his leave under house arrest in Kiryat Malachi but was allowed to attend synagogue.
Katsav is held at the Maasiyahu Prison's religious wing and according to the terms of his leave, was under police supervision in the evening hours and had to sign in at a police station at the beginning and end of the leave.
The Israel Prison Service said that Katsav met all three criteria for a leave: Completing a quarter of his sentence, passing a mental health center evaluation and attending a workshop on sexual crimes in prison.
Katsav has been serving a seven-year sentence since December 2011 following his conviction on two counts of rape, indecent acts, sexual harassment and obstruction of justice. A year and a half a go he was allowed to leave prison for eight hours in order to attend his son's wedding.
He filed a request for pardon from Israel's previous president Shimon Peres despite never admitting to his crimes or expressing regret.