Katsav's victims: Early release will destroy public faith in law authorities
A. from the Tourism Ministry, whom the former president twice raped, wrote a letter to the parole board posing questions about the PRA's about-face in recommending the convict's early release; 'His conviction and imprisonment proved that everybody was equal before the law.'
Yitzhak Dadon, Director of the Prison Rehabilitation Authority (PRA), said on Thursday night, "I stand behind every word that was written in the opinion given on (former president and convicted rapist) Moshe Katsav, which stated at its end that he has the potential for rehabilitation and that it was recommended that he be released early. Dadon was speaking following the criticism that the PRA received from women's rights organizations and from Katsav's victims who opposed the authority's recommendation that ran contrary to its recommendation in April.
Odelia Karmon, who was sexually assaulted by Katsav, penned an op-ed in Thursday's edition of Yedioth Ahronoth (Ynet's sister publication) in which she called not to approve the former president's early release. Another of Katsav's victims, A. from the Ministry of Tourism, who was twice raped by the convict, joined in her plea, writing a letter to the parole board.
She said in her letter, "I address you again, devoid of a choice in light of the sudden and strange change, to put it mildly, of the position of the Prisoner Rehabilitation Authority as it relates to the early release of Mr. Katsav.
"I would like to express my surprise at the irrational and unexplained zigzag of the authority's position and my strong opposition to shortening the sentence of the man for harmed me and so many women. His despicable actions, let alone his stubborn refusal to acknowledge them and express regret, together with his distorted perception of reality, seeing himself as a victim and me and all his victims as liars and defamers, clearly shows that he has not internalized the gravity of his actions.
"I ask you to examine under the microscope carefully and even with doubt the sudden revolution that took place in the authority's stance, which raises quite few questions: Who initiated the re-examination of the matter, and why? Does every prisoner unanimously convicted of a series of sexual crimes merit, as a matter of routine, a re-examination of the authority's position? How does one rehabilitate a serial sex offender, who despite his conviction, denies to this day the crimes and sees himself as a victim? What dramatic change in circumstances took place in such a short time that caused the authority to make such an extreme change?"
In A.'s letter, which was delivered to the parole board by her lawyer, Daniel Sror, she continued, "There is no doubt in my heart that releasing Mr. Katsav (early) will cause a death blow to public faith in the law authorities and will discourage victims of sexual assaults from complaining. His conviction and imprisonment proved that everybody was equal before the law. These events, without a doubt, encourage other victims of sexual assault to complain, despite the high standing of the person who hurt them. Releasing Mr. Katsav today will destroy all at once the important achievement that was had by his conviction."
On Monday, the convict met with two social workers from the PRA. They prepared a detailed rehabilitation plan for him to follow upon his release, which includes daily Torah lessons as well as regular meetings with a social worker and a psychologist who will help him reenter society. As part of his rehabilitation, the 71-year-old will have to refrain from defaming his victims. However, he would not be required to admit to his crimes.
Dadon claimed that he instructed the re-examination by two senior social workers who reached their decision "without any interference or improper influence on the process."