A decision on former president Moshe Katsav's request for an early release on good behavior has been postponed until next week after a lengthy hearing in front of the Parole Board on Sunday.
Katsav is serving a term of seven years in prison for two counts of rape, indecent assault and sexual harassment. Representatives of the prosecutor's office expressed opposition to Katsav's release, arguing he has never admitted to the crimes he was convicted of, never expressed remorse, and hasn't undergone rehabilitation treatment for sex offenders.
The hearing lasted for twelve hours, during which the former president broke down and started crying. Katsav's lawyers, however, were optimistic about his chances.
"I do not want to get into speculations and conjectures, I can only say that I've never argued a more just claim than this - Moshe Katsav needs to be released," said his attorney, Zion Amir, who presented his arguement for four hours. "Katsav spoke before the parole board and recounted his story of the last ten years, and especially the last four years spent in prison."
"It might not be pleasant to for you to hear, but I was taught that the law requires meeting certain criteria in order to be eligible for sentence reduction, and we should follow the law. Moshe Katsav meets the criteria and everyone should respect that, including MK Zehava Gal-On who sent a letter to the board."
Attorney Yehoshua Resnick said that the fact that Katsav did not go through rehabilitation for sex offenders "came up here and there. The board heard detailed arguments on this issue and it will make its decision. The State Attorney's representatives were looking for cracks to try and get a decision against Katsav's early release, while the law is clear, permitting Katsav to be released and have his punishment reduced."
Katsav was charged with rape, molestation and sexual harassment in March 2009. In December 2010, the District Court convicted him of two counts of rape, indecent assault, sexual harassment, and obstruction of justice. In the verdict, the court held that "the defendant's testimony was strewn with lies, small as well as big ones, and was plagued throughout with manipulations and concealment of information."
In March 2011, Katsav was sentenced to seven years in prison. In addition, the eighth president of Israel was sentenced to an additional two years suspended sentence and was required to pay compensation amounting to NIS 125,000 to two complainants. In November of that year, the court unanimously rejected his appeal, and a month later he began serving his sentence in the religious wing of Maasiyahu prison.