Moshe Katzav
Moshe Katzav Kobi Gidon/Flash 90

The parole committee on Wednesday rejected the request of former President Moshe Katzav, who asked to reduce by a third his seven-year sentence for two charges of rape and sexual crimes.

Katzav's attorney responded by saying they intend to appeal the ruling.

In its decision, the committee pointed out that Katzav denies the crimes he committed and was convicted for, and continues to present himself as a "victim." He likewise is "belligerent," they said, and does not seem to show remorse or accept responsibility for his actions.

"He expressed no regret and no sympathy toward the victims of his crimes," added the parole board.

The committee said that Katzav has not gone through any rehabilitation, adding that the courts "noted that severity of the harm to the victims and the harm to their mental state" that he caused.

Members of the committee said the plan for Katzav's early release would not prevent him from continuing his "obsessive" claims of innocence, "and possibly also a continuation of harming those who suffered from the crime." They added the plan would not prevent the "risk towards women determined in the legal opinion."

The decision comes despite the fact that the state removed its opposition to the early release on Sunday, in a sudden reversal that seemingly paved the way for Katzav's release.

Earlier on Sunday Katzav was present at a long parole hearing, in which he presented the "tribulations" he has gone through in the last ten years after first being put on trial for rape charges and then jailed; he has spent the last four years behind bars. Katzav even cried during the hearing.

Katzav, 70, was sentenced in 2011 to seven years for two counts of rape as well as sexual harassment and obstruction of justice, in a scandal that rocked Israel. 

The former president, forced to step down due to the allegations, consistently denied the charges and claimed to be the target of a media plot, claiming contact he had with his female staff while tourism minister and president was consensual.

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