Ex-Israeli president Moshe Katsav files clemency plea

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Former Israeli president Moshe Katsav officially submitted a clemency request to President Reuven Rivlin.

The request reportedly filed Sunday comes a week after reports that requests for a pardon for Katsav would be filed due to his deteriorating mental health, Israel’s Channel 2 reported. Last month, an Israel Prisons Service parole board unanimously rejected his request for early release.

Katsav, 70, personally wrote the clemency request submitted to Rivlin calling on the president to exercise “kindness, pity and mercy.” The request points to his “great suffering” and says the denial of his early parole further harmed his already deteriorating mental state, according to Channel 2.

Though he did not admit guilt for the crimes for which he was convicted, the clemency request included a letter from Katsav in which he apologizes in general if anyone was hurt by his actions.

Katsav 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.

Early parole of up to a one-third reduction in a sentence is common in Israel. 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.

Katsav’s attorney said he would appeal the early parole rejection. Katsav can request an early release again in October.

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