RAMLA (ISRAEL) (AFP) – Israeli ex-president Moshe Katsav was freed from prison Wednesday after prosectors declined to appeal a parole board decision to release him after he served five years of a seven-year term for rape.
Katsav, 71, did not speak to a crowd of journalists gathered outside the Maasiyahu prison near Tel Aviv as he left while surrounded by family.
Katsav was convicted in December 2010 of two counts of rape, sexual harassment, indecent acts and obstruction of justice.The Iran-born bureaucrat, who rose from impoverished origins as a child immigrant, resigned from the largely ceremonial role of president in June 2007 and became an outcast of the political establishment.
Katsav began his sentence in December 2011 and had been rejected twice by the parole board since he became eligible for the customary one-third reduction for good behaviour.
His previous applications were turned down in part because he had expressed no remorse over his crimes and undergone no rehabilitative process.
Israeli media reported, however, that the parole board in its latest decision found that Katsav had more recently “undergone a change”.
“The prisoner was asked many questions by the committee members regarding the circumstances of the offence, the victims’ positions, his attitude to the victims and his understanding of his acts and their consequences, and the committee members were impressed by the honesty of his intentions,” Haaretz newspaper reported the board as saying.
Katsav will face restrictions on his movements including a ban on overseas travel and a requirement to be at home between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am.
Judiciary sources said he would also not be allowed to grant an interview for two years, the time he would have had to serve as the remainder of his sentence.