[JURIST] Former Israeli president Moshe Katzav [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] was allowed to leave the prison for 24-hours on Monday, marking his first furlough since his 2011 conviction for the rape of female employees in the 1990s. Katzav, who has consistently denied the charges, has served a quarter of his seven-year sentence, thereby qualifying him for the brief release under Israel’s prison rehabilitation policies. Katzav applied for the furlough in July. Monday’s outing was the former president’s first time out of prison since he was permitted to attend his son’s wedding in May 2012.
Katzav’s initial indictment came down in March 2009 in response to the original allegations [JURIST reports] levied in 2006. Katsav was convicted in December 2010 after he rejected a controversial plea bargain [JURIST reports]. His sentence was delayed [JURIST report] in May 2011 pending the outcome of the appeal. His appeal began in August 2011 after he submitted a 300-page document [JURIST reports] following his conviction and sentencing. The Supreme Court of Israel [official website, in Hebrew] in November 2011 upheld [JURIST report] Katzav’s rape convictions. Katsav’s lawyer took issue with the court’s decision, calling into question the credibility of the victim’s testimony. Meanwhile, the confirmation of the conviction was seen widely in Israel as a victory for women’s rights and an enticement for rape victims to come forward.