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Early release granted to ex-president Katsav jailed on rape charges

Former Israeli president Moshe Katsav arrives at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem for the reading of his sentence after appealing his conviction for rape and other sexual assault charges in 2011
Menahem Kahana (AFP/File)
Katsav has served five years of a seven year sentence

A parole board on Sunday granted early release to former Israeli President Moshe Katsav, in prison for rape and other sexual offences.

“We have come to the conclusion that the time has come to order the prisoner’s release,” the ruling from the board said.

Katsav has throughout his incarceration continued to assert his innocence on convictions of two counts of rape and one count of sexual assault.

In an appearance before the parole board last week, however, Katsav conceded that he had behaved "inappropriately" with the woman who filed claims against him, Army Radio reported.

Israel's Channel 2 news said that the prosecution would likely appeal the ruling.

Katsav's first parole appeal was denied in April after finding "he expressed no regret and no sympathy toward the victims of his crimes."

"It was a very long journey," his lawyer Tzion Amir said in remarks broadcast on Army Radio. "Today that journey reached its end with a reasoned decision by the parole committee."

Israeli media said Katsav's release would be frozen for seven days for prosecutors to decide if they should appeal against the decision.

Amir said Katsav burst into tears on hearing the ruling.

Katzav began his sentence in December 2011 and has already been rejected twice by the parole board since he became eligible for the customary one-third reduction for good behaviour behind bars.

His previous applications were turned down, in part because he had expressed no remorse over his crimes and undergone no rehabilitative process. 

Katsav became president in 2000, resigning over the allegations in 2007.

Staff with agencies

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