Israel’s former rapist President granted parole

Jerusalem: An Israeli parole committee has decided to grant an early release to former President Moshe Katsav, who is jailed for rape and other sexual offences.

A court on Sunday said Katsav could walk free next week, after serving five years of his seven-year sentence, Xinhua news agency reported.

Zion Amir, Katsav’s attorney, said the former President burst into tears when he heard of the decision.

His release was postponed for a week to allow the State Attorney’s Office, which objects the parole, to appeal against the decision.

Under the terms of his parole, Katsav would have to join a Prison Service rehabilitation programme, and stay under house arrest every night until the end of his parole period.

The committee also imposed restrictions on speaking to the media and forbid him to hold a job position in which he will have woman subordinates.

Katsav, 70, served as Israel’s seventh President between 2000 and 2007.

In 2011, he was convicted of two counts of rape of women who worked for him, as well as sexual harassment of others, and obstruction of justice.

He served approximately two-thirds of his sentence, making him eligible to apply for early release, but the parole committee has twice declined his requests because he failed to acknowledge his offences or express any remorse.

Katsav also refused to enroll in a rehabilitation programme for sex offenders inside the prison, a condition required for early release.

However, last week the parole committee said Katsav for the first time acknowledged the suffering of his victims, although he still did not admit committing any crime against them.

It said Katsav was willing to join a rehabilitation programme of the Prison Service outside jail.