Former Israeli president found guilty of rape

Thursday, December 30, 2010

LONDON - Former Israeli president Moshe Katsav was Thursday found guilty of raping a tourism ministry employee and sexually assaulting and harassing two other women.

“The event in the accused’s office happened,” the Jerusalem Post quoted Tel Aviv district court judges as saying.

“(The victim) said no - she expressed dissent. This is not sexual harassment, this is rape.”

Katsav was also found guilty of sexually assaulting another woman and sexual harassment of an 18-year-old national service volunteer.

The judges said that the victims accused the former president of forcing them to write him love letters, thus fabricating evidence that would show he did not rape them.

Katsav was also found guilty with obstruction of justice.

The court passed the verdict after a years trial, and 12 years after the first of the offences was allegedly committed, the Post said. Katsav was then the countrys tourism minister.

Katsav resigned from the largely ceremonial post of Israeli president in 2007 just few weeks before his seven-year term was to end.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu described the verdict as “a sad day for the state of Israel”.

Defence Minister Ehud Barak said that “this is a difficult and sad day for Israel, a day in which our former president was convicted of such serious crimes”.

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