After striking a plea agreement with prosecutors Israeli President Moshe Katsav will avoid prison over sex charges made against him. The country’s attorney general, Menachem Mazuz, said Katsav had agreed to plead guilty to charges of indecent assault and sexual harassment and would receive a suspended sentence. In return rape charges against him, potentially warranting a jail sentence, have been dropped.
Mazuz said the president, whose term expires next month, would resign and that, in his words, “the shame will accompany him forever”.
Miriam Shler of Tel Aviv’s Rape Crisis Centre, said women will be angered by the decision: “Basically it gives a message to women that if we are raped our attacked or sexually assaulted by men that are in positions of power, that it’s better for them to sit home and be quiet and not tell anyone about it, because it’s not worth it for them to actually even file a complaint with the police.”
Mazuz added that most of the charges would be too difficult too prove and that Israel should be spared seeing its president put on trial. Israeli media said Katsav would hand in his resignation later in the day and it would take effect within 48 hours.