Moshe Katsav, Israel’s former president and a convicted rapist, was granted a 24-hour furlough for the first time since beginning his seven-year prison sentence in 2011. The former president arrived Monday morning in his hometown of Kiryat Malachi, where he was welcomed by friends and family. Katsav is under house arrest for the duration of his furlough, with the exception of leaving for prayers.
Katsav was deemed eligible for the furlough by the Israeli Prison Service since he meets the required terms: he has served over a quarter of his prison sentence, participated in a rehabilitation workshop and was not found to be a danger to the public. If Katsav doesn’t violate these terms, in the future he will be allowed to return home once a month for up to 72 hours at a time and will no longer be under house arrest when there.
Katsav refused to answer questions from the press when leaving Maasiyahu prison or uoon arrival in Kiryat Malachi. His brother Lior, however, said at the prison gates that his brother is a victim of “a great injustice,” and that he was “convicted of crimes that never took place.”
This is not the first time Katsav has been allowed out of Maasiyahu prison, where he is serving his sentence. In May 2012 the former president was let out for a few hours to attend his son’s wedding.
A request for clemency was filed by Katsav’s family to President Shimon Peres in October 2012, after Katsav lost an appeal for a retrial that May. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni recommended against pardoning the former president, noting he had yet to understand the severity of his actions and had not expressed remorse for his deeds.