Former Israeli president Moshe Katsav appeals rape conviction

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The Independent Online

Israel's Supreme Court has opened deliberations on former Israeli President Moshe Katsav's appeal of his seven-year sentence for rape and other sexual offences.

The hearing today is pivotal for Katsav, who was sentenced in March for raping an employee when he was a Cabinet minister in 1998. He was also convicted and sentenced of sex offences against two other women that occurred while he was president between 2000 and 2007.

A Supreme Court judge in May ruled that Katsav could stay out of jail while he appealed the verdicts and sentence.

Katsav, 65, has denied any wrongdoing and says he is a victim of a political witch hunt. He is the country's highest ranking official ever ordered to prison.