Israel's ex-president to be indicted for rape: ministry

JERUSALEM, March 8, 2009 (AFP) - Israel's attorney general on Sunday decided to indict former president Moshe Katsav on several charges including rape, the justice ministry said in a statement.

"Following the completion of the investigation... the attorney general and the state prosecutor decided to indict Mr. Moshe Katsav over sexual offences against several of his employees when he acted as tourism minister and president, including charges of rape and sexual assault," it said.

"The decision was made after the attorney general and state prosecutor reached the conclusion that the complainants' testimony was reliable and that there is sufficient evidence for an indictment."

The statement did not say when the formal indictment would be filed, but local media reports said it would come within days.

The announcement marked the latest act in an affair that began in July 2006, when then president Katsav filed a complaint with the attorney general alleging that a former employee was trying to blackmail him.

However an investigation by Attorney General Menahem Mazuz resulted in the woman, referred to by Israeli media as Plaintiff A, accusing the father of five of raping her while she was his secretary in the late 1990s.

On April 8, 2008, Katsav went on trial after striking a plea bargain in the case with Mazuz, only to announce the same day that he was withdrawing from the agreement.

Source: AFP

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