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Guilty Verdict for Former Israeli President

Source: VOA

An Israeli court has convicted former President Moshe Katsav on two counts of rape and sexual harassment.

The Tel Aviv court issued its verdict Thursday. The three-judge panel said Mr. Moshe's version of events was "riddled with lies."

The case stemmed from accusations made by three women who worked for him while he served as Israel's tourism minister in the 1990s and president earlier this decade.

The Iranian-born politician could face a prison sentence ranging from four to 16 years on the rape conviction.

After the verdict, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the case a "sad day for the State of Israel." He also said the court sent two messages -- that men and women were equal under the law and that women had full rights to their own bodies.

Women's rights groups demonstrated outside of the court Thursday to show solidarity with his accusers.

Mr. Katsav resigned from his mostly ceremonial position as president shortly before his term ended in 2007.

He initially agreed to a plea bargain that would have required him to admit to a lesser charge of sexual misconduct. He later withdrew from that agreement so that he could stand trial.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

... Payvand News - 12/30/10 ... --

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