Itongadol.- The Israeli Prison Service probation board will decide on Sunday the fate of former President Moshe Katsav, who is serving a seven-year rape sentence. Having served more than two-thirds of his sentence makes him eligible for probation, however, regulations force him to admit guilt and participate in group therapy sessions. According to prison officials, Katsav, who failed to win early release at an August hearing, has begun to show signs of internalizing the implications of his actions.
The president of the parole board has apparently agreed to Katsav\’s decision to refuse to participate in group therapy because, as a public figure, his statements could come out in the press and further damage his reputation. The former president has met privately with a prison social worker who is expected to convince the parole board that Katzav has been contemplating in his actions even if he does not admit any guilt.
In light of the social worker\’s opinion, the state prosecutor\’s office, which has so far opposed the release or even another probation hearing, is prepared to ease his objections, although he will likely oppose his release on Sunday. The prosecution has argued in the past that private sessions with a social worker are not a substitute for group therapy sessions and have opposed parole on the grounds that the feelings of the victims of Katsav should be taken into consideration .
Now, however, the central prosecutor\’s office in the central region has informed the board that if Katsav continues to meet with the social worker for another six months and further progress in his attitude is detected, he will not oppose his release.
The 70-year-old former president was sentenced on December 30, 2010 for two counts of rape, among other related charges. He began serving his sentence in Ma\’asiyahu prison in December 2011 and is scheduled to be released in December 2018.
Katsav has systematically denied any crime and has come forward as a victim. His earlier requests for early release were rejected in part because of his refusal to express remorse for the attacks.
If the next request for parole is denied, Katsav\’s last resort to shorten his sentence will be to appeal the clemency of President Reuven Rivlin. Both are former Likud colleagues who served many years together in the Knesset before Katsav won the presidency.