Former President Faces Rape Charge

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz announced Sunday that he will indict former President Moshe Katsav on charges of rape, indecent assault, sexual harassment and obstruction of justice.

The attorney general's decision came two-and-a-half years after then President Moshe Katsav filed an informal complaint against a female employee threatening to blackmail him.

The complaint, filed in July 2006, began a prolonged media circus, which included a press conference by the employee, known as Aleph 'A' IN HEBREW, with her face blurred to conceal identity.

In January 2007, Mazuz announced that he would indict the president for rape, but decided instead on a plea bargain on lesser charges after meeting with Katsav's attorneys.

In April 2008, Katsav rejected the plea bargain, afterward submitting his official resignation.

Following Sunday's announcement, Katsav's media advisor Ronen Tsur, said the attorney general's decision did not "surprise one person in Israel."

"Moshe Katsav took into account this would be the result when he [rejected] the plea bargain," Tzur said. "He is happy for the chance to prove his innocence in a court of law," he said.

"For the first time in Israel, the attorney general has decided to charge a man when he is not certain that he is actually guilty and when the evidence does not support it," Tzur said.

"We hope the trial will be conducted quickly. Aleph will not conduct the trial through the media so as not to damage the proceedings," he said.

Others, including Aleph, were pleased with the decision to bring Katsav to trial.

Sources: YNet news, Haaretz

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