Maverick Israeli lawyer Yoram Sheftel says that justice was not served in the Katzav case and that the judges were unable to stand up to media pressure. “There is no evidence to back up the accusations,” Sheftel told Arutz 7.
Sheftel said that the case was decided long before the judges handed down, this morning, their conviction of former President Moshe Katzav on several counts of rape and sexual harassment. “And it’s not just me saying it,” Sheftel said, “but rather former Deputy Supreme Court President Mishael Heshin himself. He said, and I quote: ‘The media’s intervention in this case has clearly affected the judges’ ability to judge… Katzav has already essentially been convicted… to the extent that his lawyers will be able to ask for a retrial if he is convicted… The judges would have to be made of iron in order to withstand this pressure, and I know these judges; they are not made of iron.”
Sheftel said that “aside from the lawyers and judges, I know the material in this case better than anyone, and I can say that it has been run in a slipshod manner from beginning to end. First of all, why was it held behind closed doors? The judicial establishment found an excuse for this intolerable situation, namely, that the identity of the complainant had to be protected… even though this is not the norm in other countries.”
Sheftel, who has seen the secret testimonies, said, “From every direction in which you look, the doubts and evidence in this case sprout all over… For instance, the woman who says she was raped ten years ago – did not say a word for nine years. Even after she was fired, she said nothing about being raped. In addition, just a few months after the time in which she says she was raped, she wrote a letter of appreciation to Katzav – and when she was faced with it, she first said it was not her handwriting, then she said that her father wrote it, then she suddenly said she knows nothing about it, and finally, her fourth version was that Katzav forced her to write it. This case has absolutely no supporting evidence to her claims. She held a phone conversation after the incident; that’s proof that she was raped?!”
There is more, according to Attorney Sheftel: “Is this the judges’ sense of justice? They say that because Katzav held two press conferences, this balances out the unrestrained media campaign that was waged against him for three years. This is balance? Is this their sense of justice?... It is clear that justice was not served in this case.”
Sheftel says that the case is far from over, “as it’s clear that Katzav will appeal, and this will likely take up to a year or more.”