A parole board has agreed to grant early release to a former Israeli president who was convicted of two counts of rape, sexual harassment, indecent acts and obstruction of justice.
The board ruled on Sunday that Moshe Katsav can walk free after serving five years of his seven-year jail term.
His release is set for next week to allow for Israel’s state prosecution, which opposes his early release, to consider an appeal.
The ruling angered opposition politicians, including the leader of the Meretz Party, Zehava Galon.
“This is a dangerous message, that you can attack women and get away with it with the least punishment provided you are well-connected,” the opposition group said in a statement on Sunday.
Katsav began his sentence in December 2011 and had already been rejected twice by the parole board since he became eligible for the customary one-third reduction for good behaviour behind bars.
The rape conviction for the former head of state had been lauded as a victory for women’s rights and equality under the law.
Katsav resigned in June 2007 after being charged with rape and sexual harassment. He began his sentence in 2011 and has repeatedly professed his innocence.
Previous parole bids by Katsav, who is not allowed to travel overseas on parole and must not leave his home after 10pm, were rejected as he showed no remorse for his crimes.
He has been ordered to attend weekly therapy sessions, and will not be able to serve in any position in which he oversees women.