Police accuse Israeli
president of rape
Allyn Fisher-Ilan / Reuters | October 15 2006
JERUSALEM - Israel said today its
police force had acquired evidence suggesting President Moshe Katsav
had raped and molested women who worked for him.
Katsav, whose position is largely ceremonial, has denied any wrongdoing
and said he is the victim of a "public lynching without trial or
In a joint statement capping weeks of investigations, Israel's Justice
Ministry and national police said:
"There is prima facie evidence of a number of incidents in which
several women who worked under his authority were involved, that the
president carried out sex crimes of rape, sexual molestation by force
and without consent."
Katsav was also suspected of "a violation of a law against eavesdropping"
and involvement in fraud, it said, summing up findings presented by
a team of police investigators.
A police source said Katsav was suspected of installing bugging devices
to hear employees' phone conversations.
Israel's Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz will decide whether to bring
charges against Katsav after prosecutors review the evidence, the statement
added. Mazuz will likely make a decision in about two weeks, the police
Katsav, 60, born in Iran, is married with five children and six grandchildren
and has been president since 2000. He is immune from prosecution unless
he is impeached by parliament.
An indictment would be unlikely to have any significant political repercussions.
But the scandal adds to a list of events that have darkened the mood
in Israel, where a cabinet minister has been indicted for a forced kiss
and the government is under fire for its handling of a war against Hezbollah
guerrillas in Lebanon.
The president has been under pressure for weeks to step down over the
affair, which has been under investigation since August. He faced new
calls to quit after the police statement.
"The president must resign," Education Minister Yuli Tamir
said on Israeli television. "If he doesn't do so, I believe a process
will be launched to force him to resign."
Several women parliament members threatened a walkout if Katsav goes
ahead with plans to attend the opening of the winter session of the
Planet.tv: The Premier Multimedia Subscription Package: Download and
Share the Truth!
our fight against the New World Order by giving a donation. As bandwidth
costs increase, the only way we can stay online and expand is with your
support. Please consider giving a monthly or one-off donation for whatever
you can afford. You can pay securely by either credit card or Paypal.