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Israel high court puts Katsav plea agreement on hold pending challenge

[JURIST] The Israeli Supreme Court [official website] put President Moshe Katsav's plea agreement on hold for 24 hours Sunday to entertain a legal challenge by a Israeli civil rights group Movement for Quality Government in Israel [advocacy website]. Katsav [official website; JURIST news archive] signed the plea agreement [JURIST report] with prosecutors last week, under which he will admit to charges of indecent assault, sexual harassment, and obstruction of justice, and will resign from the presidency, in exchange for a suspended sentence and the dropping of rape charges [JURIST report] brought by a former employee.

In October 2006 Israeli police recommended [JURIST report] that the Israeli attorney general indict Katsav following a three-month investigation of at least 10 complaints against him brought by former employees. The plea agreement, announced by Attorney General Menahem Mazuz [official profile] last week, was criticized by women's right activists as special treatment, but Mazuz defended the agreement as necessary to protect the office of the presidency from further injury and spare the country from embarrassment. AP has more.

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