So.. There are no two states of Malaysia, just 1Malaysia.. but are we have two kinds of citizens and law here?
Israeli court finds former president guilty of rape
By Isabel Kershner
New York Times / December 31, 2010
JERUSALEM — An Israeli court convicted former president Moshe Katsav of two counts of forcible rape yesterday, a verdict many Israelis described as a low point in the nation’s history but also redemptive, in that it upheld equality before the law.
“There are no two states of Israel, just one state,’’ said Shimon Peres, Katsav’s successor as president. “There are no two kinds of citizens here. . . . All are equal in the eyes of the law.’’
The verdict capped a four-year spectacle that began with accusations of sexual offenses against Katsav while he was still the head of state.
“Never before has a president in the democratic world been found guilty of such deeds,’’ wrote Zeev Segal, the legal commentator for the newspaper Haaretz and a law professor at Tel Aviv University.
A panel of three district court judges in Tel Aviv convicted Katsav, 65, of raping an employee — identified only by her first initial, A. — on two occasions while he was minister of tourism in 1998.
The court also convicted him of sexually abusing and harassing another complainant and of harassing a third while he was president — an exalted, if mostly ceremonial, position that Katsav held from 2000 until 2007.
Katsav has denied any wrongdoing, and his lawyers said it was possible that he would appeal to the Supreme Court.
One of his lawyers, Avigdor Feldman, said the district court had set aside the doubts of the prosecution “with unfortunate lightness,’’ given that the prosecution considered the chances of a rape conviction “very borderline.’’
Still, yesterday’s verdict was unequivocal, finding Katsav guilty of what Ronit Amiel, a state prosecutor in the case, described as “the most serious and heinous sexual crimes.’’
Katsav, looking ashen, made no comment as he left the court accompanied by his lawyers. His son, Boaz, said that the family was steadfast in its support of Katsav and that they remained convinced he was innocent.
Sentencing is expected in January; legal commentators said rape verdicts usually carried a minimum sentence of four years and a maximum of 16.
Reading from a 29-page summary of the verdict, the presiding judge, George Kara, said that Katsav’s testimony was “strewn with lies, small and large,’’ that the court was convinced the sexual relations were not consensual, and that the rapes had involved the use of force.
Katsav had contended that the rape accusation was a plot by the former Tourism Ministry employee, who he said was seeking revenge after she was fired.
Disgraced ex-Israeli president convicted of rape
Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav, center, leaves a court in Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday, Dec. 30, 2010. Former Israel President Moshe Katsav was convicted Thursday of raping an employee when he was a Cabinet minister, the most serious criminal charges ever brought against a high-ranking official and a case that stunned the nation. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
By Josef Federman
Associated Press / December 30, 2010
JERUSALEM—Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav was convicted of rape Thursday, a dramatic fall from grace for a man who rose from humble beginnings to become a symbol of achievement for Jews of Middle Eastern origin.
The disgraced politician, who had rejected a plea bargain that would have kept him out of jail, will likely be sentenced to four to 16 years in prison. The verdict was seen as a victory for the Israeli legal system and for women's rights in a decades-long struggle to chip away at the nation's macho culture, which once permitted political and military leaders great liberties.
"The court sent two clear and sharp messages: that everyone is equal and every woman has the full right to her body," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement. But he added that it was "a sad day for Israel and its citizens."
The Tel Aviv District Court found Katsav, 65, guilty of two counts of raping an employee in 1998, when he was Israel's tourism minister. It also convicted him of lesser counts of indecent acts; sexual harassment involving two other women who worked for him when he was president, from 2000 to 2007; and obstruction of justice.
Katsav denied all allegations, claiming he was a victim of a political witch hunt and suggesting he was targeted because he is a Sephardic Jew -- a Jew of Middle Eastern origin. But in Thursday's ruling, the three-judge panel said his version of events was "strewn with lies."
A somber Katsav left the courtroom without commenting, surrounded by his legal team, security guards and family members. His wife, Gila, didn't appear in court.
He was ordered to surrender his passport while awaiting sentencing on a date that was not immediately set. Late Thursday, he was holed up in his home with his family.
Israel's presidency is a largely ceremonial post, traditionally given to elder statesmen as a reward for a lifetime of public service. Winning the office capped a career in which Katsav became a model of success for Sephardic Jews, who for decades were a Jewish underclass in Israel relative to the well-off, European-rooted establishment.
Katsav's world began to crumble late in his presidency when he complained that a female employee was trying to extort him. The woman went to police with her side of the story, detailing a series of sexual assaults. Other women came forward with similar complaints.
According to the indictment, Katsav forced one woman to the floor of his office at the Tourism Ministry in 1998 and raped her. Later that year, he summoned her to a Jerusalem hotel to go over paperwork and raped her on the bed in his room. The indictment alleged that Katsav tried to calm his victim by saying: "Relax, you'll enjoy it.".