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Israel's Peres likely to reject ex-president's request for clemency

English.news.cn   2012-10-16 20:19:58            

JERUSALEM, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- Israeli President Shimon Peres is expected to deny an application for clemency filed Monday by his predecessor, Moshe Katzav, a convicted sex offender, local media reported Tuesday, citing sources close to the president.

In a landmark ruling, a Tel Aviv court in March 2011 sentenced Moshe Katzav to a seven-year prison term and two years probation for two counts of rape and multiple counts of sexual harassment of women who were subordinate to him during his terms as tourism minister in the '90's and later as president.

The former president began serving his sentence last December. As well, he was ordered to pay compensation nearing 35,000 U.S. dollars to two of three victims.

Katzav's wife, Gila, on Monday filed a request for clemency on his behalf, in which she recounts the suffering that has been his lot, and the family's, ever since.

"Myself, my children, grandchildren, elderly mother-in-law and his brothers and sisters are experiencing unbearable and humiliating torments," according to a copy of the letter published in the Israeli Yedioth Ahronoth daily on Tuesday.

"The public conviction and slandering media campaign that preceded his conviction were our lot every day for more than six years and, in and of itself, are terrible punishment to him and the entire family," the letter continues.

"We fear for his safety," Gila Katzav implored in her letter to Peres.

On Tuesday, local media unveiled that inmates at the Ma'asiyahu Prison are badgering the former president: cursing, wetting his mattress, stealing his food and smearing glue on the walls of his cell.

As president, Katzav denied clemency to ten inmates currently tormenting him, according to Yedioth Ahronoth. One of them is Ami Poper, a murderer serving a 40-year prison term, who was transferred to another penitentiary on Tuesday for leading the assault on Katzav.

Close associates of President Peres assessed the chance he would pardon Katzav as "zero," citing the president's "absolute intolerance" toward sexual offenders, drug dealers and pedophiles.

Legal experts noted that a presidential pardon is possible only for inmates who have admitted their crimes and expressed remorse, none of which are true in Katzav's case. The former president has repeatedly argued that he is a victim of a hostile media campaign.

A Justice Ministry spokesman said Monday that Katzav's request would be processed and evaluated according to legal protocol, after which Peres would decide on whether to grant clemency.

Editor: Wang Yuanyuan
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