Former Israeli President Katsav Begins Jail Sentence

Jerusalem, Dec. 7 – In a stark illustration of the way Israel upholds equality before the law, former President Moshe Katzav began his seven-year prison sentence Wednesday following his conviction on charges of rape, sexual harassment and obstruction of justice.

Katsav will serve his sentence at a minimum security prison where his time behind bars will include social rehabilitation classes.

Commenting previously on the conviction of Katsav, the chief justice of Israel’s Supreme Court, Dorit Beinish, said the verdict proves the egalitarianism of the law." It is a sad day, but it demonstrates the value of equality before the law," she said.

“If the president goes to jail, then no one is immune to our system of jurisprudence,” opposition Kadima Party leader Tzipi Livni said. “The only legitimate path is the straight one, one with strict adherence to the law, one that opposes sexual exploitation, rape, abuse of authority, bribery, and corruption," she added.

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July 2006: Katsav complains to Attorney General over alleged blackmail attempt by a former employee, who says she will file a sexual harassment complaint against him. Attorney General opens criminal investigation, but Katsav changes his mind and says it is not necessary. After story reported, several more women report harassment by Katsav. Katsav now a suspect.

August 23, 2006: Katsav called in by police who interrogate him in connection to rape allegations. Katsav denies allegations and says he remains as president.

October 15, 2006: Police pass file to Attorney General saying evidence warrants a charge sheet for the alleged rape of two women who worked for Katsav.

January 23, 2007: Indictment against Katsav filed, including allegations of rape, sexual harassment, forceful indecent assault, and forced sex with four women who worked for Katsav at different times.

January 24, 2007: Katsav holds press conference and publicly denies the allegations. He accuses the media, the police and Attorney General of persecuting him. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert calls on Katsav to resign.

January 25, 2007: Katsav goes on three month leave from presidency, which is filled by the speaker of the Knesset (Israeli parliament).

March 7, 2007: Katsav survives vote by Knesset House Committee to impeach him.

April, 2007: Katsav asks that his leave be extended until the end of his first term in July 2007.

May 2, 2007: Katsav and his lawyers meet the Attorney General to review the evidence against him.

June 28, 2007: Attorney General reveals Katsav’s lawyers agree to a plea bargain on reduced charges of sexual attacks against only two complainants (?).June 29, 2007: Katsav resigns only a month before the end of his term.

April 2008: Katsav case opens in the Jerusalem District Court with Katsav rejecting the plea bargain and choosing instead to proceed with the trial. Trial adjourned as prosecution, defense reorganize.

March 19, 2009: State prosecutor files new indictment again Katsav accusing him of rape, sexual harassment, forceful indecent assault, forced sex against three different women, and obstruction of justice.

September 1, 2009: Testimony begins at Katsav trial. Judges decide to hear witnesses in (via?) camera.

December 30, 2010: Court convicts Katsav on all counts.

March 22, 2011: Court sentences Katsav to seven years in prison, and orders him to pay 125,000 NIS (roughly $34,000) compensation to each victim.

August 7-11, 2011: Katsav appeals conviction to Israel’s Supreme Court, claiming he had consensual intercourse with one of his accusers.

November 10, 2011: Supreme Court rejects Katsav’s appeal and upholds the conviction.

December 7, 2011: Katsav enters prison to begin his sentence.

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