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Ex-president Katsav agrees to rehab in early release bid


Although convicted rapist has expressed no remorse, parole board is advised let him out

 July 14, 2016, 11:48 am 
Moshe Katsav (left) leaving prison for his first home visit, May 2012. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)
Moshe Katsav (left) leaving prison for his first home visit, May 2012. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)
Four months after refusing to advise the parole board to release former president Moshe Katsav, Israel’s prisoner rehabilitation body has reportedly called for him to be let out of prison.
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With less than a week left before the Israel Prisons Service parole board is set to discuss early release for Katsav, who is serving time for rape and other sexual offenses, the Yedioth Ahronoth daily reported Thursday that the Prisoner Rehabilitation Authority has recommended his release and advised that he be sent to rehab.
The authority had recommended Katsav not be freed earlier this year because he has refused to express contrition for, or even admit to, his crimes. Katsav, 70, was convicted on December 30, 2010, on two counts of rape, and other charges. He began serving his sentence in December 2011, and is slated for release in December 2018.
Katsav’s lawyer, Yehoshua Reznik, on Thursday would not say whether his client assumed responsibility and regret for his crimes.
According to Yedioth Ahronoth, the rehabilitation body’s turnaround was the result of a meeting with Katsav on Monday, in which the former president agreed to undergo rehabilitation and be released home.
The rehabilitation plan sketched out for him includes daily Torah study, regular meetings with social workers, and a commitment to not besmirch his victims, the report said.
In earlier meetings with social workers he dismissed the idea that he needed to undergo rehab. Before Monday’s meeting, the paper reported, Katsav’s attorney and family told him to play ball with the social workers.
One of Katsav’s victims responded to the news with disbelief, suggesting there was political pressure to free the former president. “What happened all of a sudden” to change Katsav’s mind, Odelia Carmon wondered in an interview with Army Radio.
If he goes free, “it would be unprecedented in Israel, and would send a very negative message, both about women and about sex offenders,” Carmon, who was assaulted by Katsav in the early 1990s, said Thursday.
The authority’s recommendation will be given to the parole board at the hearing next week.
In April the parole board had unanimously rejected Katsav’s plea for early release. The request had triggered a firestorm of criticism, including from lawmakers and at least one of Katsav’s victims.
The board noted at the time that Katsav continued to deny that he was guilty of the crimes he was convicted of, and cared only about his own plight and not that of his victims.
Last Tuesday, the Lod District Court decided Katsav could have another parole hearing, despite opposition from the State Prosecution. It also instructed the Prisons Service to prepare a rehabilitation program for him.
The state prosecution strongly objected to that ruling.

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