In jail for rape, Israeli ex-president Katsav gets early release

Jerusalem, Dec 21 (IANS) Israel’s former President Moshe Katsav was freed on parole on Wednesday, after serving five of his seven-year sentence for rape and other sexual offences.

Live television and radio broadcasts showed Katsav walking out of the Maasiyahu Prison, east of Tel Aviv, where about a dozen of family members and supporters were waiting for him, Xinhua reported.

His release came about an hour after State Attorney Shai Nitzan said the prosecution would not appeal the Parole Committee’s decision to grant Katsav an early release.

Under the terms of his parole, Katsav would have to join a prison service rehabilitation programme. He would also have to stay under house arrest every night, from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., 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 women subordinates.

Katsav, 71, was born in Iran and became the first President who was born in a Muslim country. He served as Israel’s seventh President between 2000 and 2007. In 1977, at the age of 30, he first became a parliament member with the right-wing Likud party.

In November 2011, the Supreme Court unanimously affirmed his conviction on two counts of rape of a former employee during his term as Tourism Minister in the 1990s, indecent sexual assaults and sexual harassment of two other women while being President, and obstruction of justice.