Former president Moshe Katsav, who was convicted of rape and indecent acts committed against women working under him, will soon become a free man after the parole board accepted his early release request on Sunday. He broke out in tears when he heard his request had been granted.
Katsav has already served five years, more than two thirds of his seven-year sentence, and was expected to be immediately released from prison, but the parole board decided to postpone his release in a week to allow for appeals against the decision.
"After board members examined all of the arguments made before them, all of the documents submitted to them and all of the meetings and decision concerning the prisoner, the conclusion was reached that it is time to order the prisoner's release," the parole board said in a statement.
"The prisoner's rehabilitation plan cannot nullify the danger he poses and must be seen as a continuation of the treatment he underwent in prison. The decision was made after the board members were impressed by the honesty of the prisoner's words and after he met the expectations set by board members in their previous decision."
The parole board also addressed Katsav's victims, saying the issue "was given an expression and was taken under consideration—during the trial, in the verdict, and in previous decisions made by the parole board. The court had its say and the prisoner was given punishment and is serving his sentence. The decision to release him or not does not take away from the contempt the board feels in light of his actions and from the grave manner in which it sees theses actions.
"Nonetheless, the board members were impressed that the prisoner has come a long way since the first board meeting, took up the gauntlet, and accepted the hand offered him by the prison's treatment officials. The prisoner now understands the meaning of his actions and the hurt he caused the women, and regrets this."
The Prisoner Rehabilitation Authority has prepared a detailed rehabilitation plan for Katsav to follow upon his release, which includes attending daily Torah lessons in Kiryat Malachi; attending weekly meetings of a religious treatment group; and attending weekly meetings with a psychosocial therapist.
In addition, Katsav will have to refrain from defaming his victims. He will not be allowed to give interviews to the media—nor will anyone else be allowed to be interviewed on Katsav's behalf.
The former president will also be barred from working in any position in which women serve as his subordinates.
Similar to other felons, additional conditions were imposed on Katsav, including the requirement to present himself to the police station near his home within 48 hours of his release and then once a month.
Katsav will be not be allowed to leave his home between 10pm-6am every day. He will also not he allowed to leave the country without approval from the parole board—and even that not before December 6, 2018.
Restrictions were also put on his place of residence. Katsav would only be able to move within Kiryat Malachi and only with the approval of the Prisoner Rehabilitation Authority. He could move out of Kiryat Malachi with the approval of the parole board and is required to inform the police station near his home and the Israel Prison Service of any change in address.
The Prisoner Rehabilitation Authority will supervise Katsav to ensure he meets all of the terms of his release, reporting any violation to the parole board. The authority will submit a report on Katsav every nine months for the duration of the rehabilitation period.
The State Attorney's Office was opposed to early release, saying Katsav has yet to accept responsibility for his criminal actions and was not going through the common rehabilitation process. Instead, he is participating in a workshop the Israel Prison Service created for "prisoners who deny guilt."
In such a treatment, the treating professionals try to help the prisoner internalize the meaning of his conviction, even though he still denies his crimes and claims to be innocent. This is done in an effort to create awareness and recognition for the prisoners actions.
In his third request for early release, the 72-year-old felon asked for forgiveness from anyone who was hurt by him and said he understood his victims' feelings, falling short of taking responsibility for his actions.