Tuesday, May 31, 2011

11/05 Israel's ex-president spared prison for several more days

JERUSALEM, May 11 (Xinhua) -- Israel's High Court of Justice on Wednesday granted former President Moshe Katzav several more days as a free man, announcing that it would hand down its ruling on an appeal to postpone his prison sentence early next week.

The Tel Aviv District Court in March sentenced Katzav to seven years in jail for two counts of rape and other sexual offenses against women who worked with him at the President's Residence, and during his tenure as Tourism Minister.

The former president's defense team earlier this month appealed the court to overturn the rape conviction, claiming that sexual relations with "A," the main complainant in the rape trial, were consensual.

Attorneys Tzion Amir and Micha Feldman also requested that the execution of the prison term be delayed until the end of deliberations on the appeal. Feldman argued that the delay would prevent the possible embarrassment of an acquittal being handed down after the former president was already behind bars.

Katzav was scheduled to enter prison on Sunday.

The State Prosecution opposed Katzav's request at Wednesday's hearing, saying that he should be "treated like any citizen."

"Legally, this is a regular case. The defendant was charged with a felony," local news service Ynet quoted Aryeh Peter, the State Prosecution representative, as saying.

Editor: Xiong Tong

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