Ex-Israeli president Moshe Katsav’s request for early parole rejected

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Former Israeli president Moshe Katsav was rejected in his bid for an early release from prison on sexual assault convictions.

An Israel Prisons Service parole board deliberated for more than two hours Wednesday before unanimously rejecting his request for early release. The board had delayed making a decision twice in recent days.

An attorney for Katsav, the first Israeli president ever sentenced to prison, said the decision would be appealed. Early parole of up to a one-third reduction in a sentence is common in Israel.

Katsav, 70, has served about two-thirds of a seven-year jail sentence for convictions on rape, sexual assault and harassment. He began serving his sentence in December 2011 and is scheduled to be released in December 2018.

Among the board’s reasons for rejecting the request are Katsav has not admitted guilt and accepted responsibility for his actions or shown any remorse. He also has said he did not receive a fair trial.

“In front of us is a prisoner who denies the crimes that he committed, who continues to claim his innocence, despite the court ruling in his matter, and continues to spend time trying to prove his innocence, as though there had been no legal process,” the parole board’s decision read.

The Prisons Service has acknowledged that Katsav has been a model prisoner.

Katsav can request parole again in six months.

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