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Former Israeli President Gets Prison Sentence for Rape

Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav arrives at a court in Tel Aviv, March 22, 2011

A court in Israel has sentenced former President Moshe Katsav to seven years in prison for rape.

Moshe Katsav is the highest-ranking official in Israel's history to get a prison sentence.

The court in Tel Aviv sentenced Katsav to seven years after he was convicted in December of twice raping a female employee while he was minister of tourism in the 1990s. He was also convicted of sexually abusing and harassing other women while he was president.

Announcement of the sentencing was behind closed doors. Witnesses say the former president broke down in tears and shouted at the judges that the accusation was a lie, and that the court had made a mistake.

The Katsav case has been in the headlines in Israel for years. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday responded to the sentencing, saying no one is above the law.

Mr. Netanyahu called it a day of sadness and shame, but also a day of what he described as deep appreciation and pride in the Israeli justice system.

Katsav is due to report to prison in May. His lawyers have indicated they will appeal the sentence.

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