Motti Malka, the mayor of Kiryat Malachi who was suspended from his post in 2012 due to rape charges, was invited by the city council on Tuesday to its official ceremony marking International Women’s Day.

The Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel questioned the decision to invite Malka to the event.

“This invitation is not only a denigrating insult to women who have lodged complaints against Malka and other senior civil servants; it sends the public a problematic message and lends legitimacy to the defendant,” the organization said in a statement.

The Association’s website called for the organizers of the event to rescind Malka’s invitation and instead invite someone who had actively campaigned for women’s rights.

In January, Malka signed a plea bargain in which he confessed to sexual misconduct and was ordered to perform community service and compensate his accusers. His deputy has been serving in his stead, and he has been barred from running for reelection.

Police sources criticized the deal at the time, saying there was sufficient concrete evidence to press charges and take the matter to court and Malka to prison, where he would serve to deter other people in positions of power from doing the same.