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Israeli Ex-President Katsav, Jailed For Rape, Seeks Pardon

JERUSALEM (AFP) –  Israeli ex-president Moshe Katsav, in prison for rape and other sexual offences, has asked the current head of state for a pardon, President Reuven Rivlin’s office said on Sunday.

“A request for pardon arrived at the president’s office today,” it said in a brief statement.

“As is the custom with every request for a pardon it has been passed for handling to the presidential legal department,” the statement added.

Katsav, the first Israeli head of state to be sent to prison, was jailed in 2011 for seven years on two counts of rape as well as sexual harassment, indecent acts and obstruction of justice.

A parole board last month turned down his application for early release, saying that Katsav, 70, “expressed no regret and no sympathy toward the victims of his crimes”.

“The prisoner has presented himself as a victim and has continually attributed responsibility for his situation to others,” the justice ministry said in a statement following the decision.

Katsav’s 18-month trial included harrowing accusations and portrayed him as a sexual predator who routinely harassed his female staff. The offences committed against his employees were said to have occurred when he served as tourism minister and later as president.

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

He was replaced in the largely ceremonial post by Nobel Peace laureate Shimon Peres. Rivlin was elected to the position in June 2014 for a statutory seven-year term.

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