Tuesday, May 31, 2011

22/05 Former Israeli president appeals rape conviction in High Court

English.news.cn 2011-05-02 22:42:52

JERUSALEM, May 2 (Xinhua) -- Former Israeli President Moshe Katzav on Monday appealed the High Court of Justice to overturn his conviction on charges of rape and sexual abuse of female subordinates.

The Tel Aviv District Court on March 22 sentenced Katzav to a seven-year jail term two years' probation for rape and multiple counts of sexual harassment of three women with whom he worked during his terms as tourism minister and president.

The three-judge panel also ruled Katzav paid 35,000 U.S. dollars in compensation to two of the victims.

Tzion Amir and Avigdor Feldman, the attorneys representing Katzav, asked the High Court to defer execution of the sentence, set to begin on May 7, until appeal proceedings are complete.

"The judges completely ignored parts of the evidence in their verdict while other parts, in our opinion, were not given their due weight," The Jerusalem Post daily quoted Amir as saying.

The appeal includes a claim reiterated by Katzav that his fate had been sealed in a public trial fuelled by the media, long before the official sentence was read.

Israeli daily Ha'aretz on Monday assessed the chances of the appeal as low, since the High Court rarely overturns sentences handed down by the country's district courts.

However, Katzav stands some chance of having the prison term mitigated after one judge, representing the minority, said that case justifies a sentence of no more than four years' incarceration, according to the report.

Editor: yan

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