Middle East
Israel's Katsav to face rape charge
Attorney-general says former president will be indicted on a number of sex charges.
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2009 16:46 GMT
Katsav has said that he is the victim
of a political witch hunt [AFP]

Moshe Katsav, the former president of Israel, will be charged with rape and other sexual misconduct offences, the country's attorney-general says.

Katsav stepped down shortly before his seven-year term was due to end in 2007 after four female employees accused him of crimes including rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment.

"Following the completion of the investigation ... the attorney general and the state prosecutor decided to indict Mr Moshe Katsav over sexual offences against several of his employees when he acted as tourism minister and president, including charges of rape and sexual assault," the justice minister said in a statement on Sunday.

The statement did not say when the formal indictment would be filed, but local media reports said it would be within days.

Zion Amir, Katsav's attorney, said that the defence team was "preparing for a long struggle to prove the innocence of the former president".

Plea agreement

Katsav, the eighth president of Israel, resigned in July 2007 as part of a plea agreement which granted him immunity from the rape charge and a possible 20 year jail sentence, but required him to plead guilty to sexual harrassment.

In depth

Profile: Moshe Katsav

Profile: Moshe Katsav

However, Katsav later reneged on the deal.

Katsav, who was replaced as president by Shimon Peres, has said that he is a victim of a political witch hunt. He has always denied any wrongdoing.

The affair that began in July 2006, when Katsav filed a complaint with the attorney general alleging that a former employee was trying to blackmail him.

However, an investigation resulted in the woman, referred to by the Israeli media as Plaintiff A, accusing the father of five of raping her while she was his secretary in the late 1990s.

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