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Israel Denies Former President Early Prison Release


FILE - In this Nov. 10, 2011 file photo, Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav arrives at the Supreme court, in Jerusalem. His request for a conditional early release from prison has been rejected by a parole board.

Former Israeli president Moshe Katsav’s request for a conditional early release from prison has been rejected by a parole board.

He is serving a seven-year term for raping an employee, while he was the minister of tourism in 1998. Katsav has always maintained his innocence.

The Justice Ministry said Wednesday the parole board concluded Katsav, the first Israeli president to be incarcerated, did not show remorse, regret or sympathy toward victims. The parole board also said Katsav could still be a threat to women and conducts himself in an aggressive manner.

His victims also expressed opposition to an early release before the board.

Charges of rape, sexual harassment

Katsov was convicted in 2010 on charges of rape, sexual harassment, indecent acts, and obstruction of justice.

“The board emphasized that the prisoner has presented himself as victim and has continually attributed responsibility for his situation to others,” the Justice Ministry said.

During his 18-month trial, his former secretary made allegations against him. AFP reported the woman “described Katsav as monstrous, with a split personality that subjected her to terror.”

The 70-year-old Katsav took the mostly ceremonial role as president in 2000. After public pressure following the allegations, Katsav was offered a plea bargain and resigned in 2007.

He later decided to call off the plea bargain and face trial and said he would “fight until the truth comes out.” Nobel Peace laureate Shimon Peres took over the presidency after Katsav’s resignation.

Katsav’s lawyers are expected to appeal Wednesday's decision.