Former Israeli President Katsav Sentenced 7 Years for Rape

Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav was sentenced Tuesday to seven years in prison on rape and sexual harassment charges, three months after he was found guilty by a three-judge panel of the Tel Aviv district court.

Before the sentencing, Katsav, 65, was convicted on two charges each of rape and forceful sexual harassment, and another one for sexual harassment. The crimes were reportedly committed by Katsav while he was tourism minister from 1996-1999 and president from 2000-2007. He resigned in 2007 after several women went public and accused him of rape and sexual harassment. He was eventually charged and convicted of twice raping an aide while he was tourism minister under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and of sexually harassing two female employees during his reign as president.

The sentencing marks an end to a case that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said was proof that the justice system in Israel is at work and that “all are equal before the law.” Katsav, who had planned to plead guilty to a lesser offense back in 2007, maintained his innocence throughout the trial and described himself as a victim of an ethnically-motivated “witch hunt.”