|English.news.cn 2011-03-22 15:50:12|
|Israeli former President Moshe Katzav leaves the Tel Aviv District Court on March 22, 2011, after being sentenced to seven years in jail and two years of probation for rape and other sexual offenses against female employees.(Xinhua/JINI)|
JERUSALEM, March 22 (Xinhua) -- With tear-soaked eyes and accompanied by his sons, former Israeli President Moshe Katzav exited the Tel Aviv District Court on Tuesday morning after being sentenced to seven years in jail and two years probation for rape and a host of other sexual crimes.
On December 30, Katzav was convicted of two counts of rape and sexual harassment of former female employees who were subordinate to him during his tenures as tourism minister and later as president.
The three-judge panel also ruled that Katzav will pay 100,000 shekels (28,000 U.S. dollars) in compensation to "Aleph," who claimed to have been raped and sexually harassed by Katzav when she worked at the President's Residence.
"The fact that Katzav was a minister and a president makes this case unprecedented. His former titles can't be taken to his credit. On the contrary, it makes his acts more severe," said Judge George Karra in the argument that preceded the reading of the sentence.
"The offense of rape is the most severe among sexual crimes, Katzav committed rapes with violent forces and exploitation of his victims' weakness and his high rank, which is why the punishment must be clear and concise," Karra said, adding, "No man is above the law."
Katzav, 65, Israel's eighth president, is the highest-ranking Israeli official ever sent to jail.
On Tuesday, he continued to maintain his innocence, bursting out at the judges: "You're wrong! It's a lie! The girls know that they are lying!"