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Israel president faces indictment for sex crimes

[JURIST] The office of Israeli Attorney General Menahem Mazuz [official profile] said Tuesday that there is enough evidence to indict Israeli President Moshe Katsav [official website] on various charges, including rape, sexual harassment, abuse of power and obstruction of justice [JURIST report]. Formal charges, however, can only be made once a hearing is held [Reuters report] in which Katsav will be allowed to present his case. Katsav has rejected the allegations against him and maintains that his innocence will be proven once a hearing is held. In October 2006, Katsav declined Mazuz's recommendation that he voluntarily suspend [JURIST report] his presidential duties pending the conclusion of the criminal investigation.

Police initially recommended the indictment following a three-month investigation covering at least 10 complaints against Katsav by former employees. The Israeli presidency, which Katsav has held since 2000, is largely ceremonial with real power vested in the prime minister [official website]. Katsav currently has immunity, but can be impeached or prosecuted after he leaves office. BBC News has more. The Jerusalem Post has local coverage.

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