The State Attorney’s Office is against the early release of former President Moshe Katsav, who is currently serving a seven year prison term for rape, and has tried to stop Katsav from having a parole hearing next week.
The Israel Prisons Service is set to convene on Monday to debate Katsav’s fate. Unlike previous hearings, prison authorities believe the former president will express remorse for his actions, according to Channel 2.
However, the State Attorney’s Office remains opposed to Katsav’s release, and told the Parole Board that there have been no changes to warrant his release, or even a debate on the subject.
Despite the request, the Parole Board has chosen to ignore the State Attorney’s Office’s request, which was reportedly pushed for by State Attorney Shai Nitzan, Channel 2 reported.
Katsav has consistently denied committing any offenses and has portrayed himself as a victim. His previous requests for early release were rejected, in part, because of his refusal to express remorse for the attacks. It was reported at the time that he had then been placed on a suicide watch and given psychological counseling.
But a new report from the Prison Service last month described a “crack in the wall of denial,” according to Channel 2, and expresses a hope that Katsav will acknowledge his crimes and take responsibility for them, whereupon it would support Katsav’s early release.
According to Channel 2, Katsav was told last week that the Israel Prisons Service would support his request for early release in a report that also took note of his change of attitude when it comes to acknowledging wrongdoing.
The Israel Prisons Service Parole Board accepted Katsav’s request for a new hearing three months after a previous parole request was rejected.
Early parole is very common in the Israeli prison system, with a majority of prisoners managing to obtain the standard one-third reduction to their sentence for good behavior.
The Prisons Service has said Katsav’s behavior as a prisoner has been above reproach.
If the upcoming parole request is denied, Katsav’s last resort for shortening his sentence will be to appeal for a pardon by President Reuven Rivlin. The two are former Likud colleagues who served many years together in the Knesset before Katsav won the presidency.