Former Israeli president Katsav arrives at prison
Jerusalem: Former Israeli president Moshe Katsav has arrived at a prison in central Israel to begin serving his seven-year rape sentence.
Katsav was convicted a year ago but had remained free until Wednesday while appealing the ruling and sentence.
Israel`s Supreme Court rejected his appeal last month.
Katsav was convicted last December of raping a former female employee when he was a Cabinet minister, and of sexually harassing two other women when he was president from 2000 to 2007. The case has both riveted and appalled the nation, with the former president`s conviction hailed as a victory for women`s rights and equality under the law.
In a brief statement to the hordes of journalists who had descended upon his home before he set off on the hourlong drive to Maasiyahu prison, a grim-faced Katsav accused authorities of ignoring evidence that could clear him. He predicted that one day, "the truth will come to light."
"The state of Israel is executing a man today based on impressions, without real time testimony, without evidence," Katsav railed. "One day, consciences will prick and you will see that you buried a man alive."
In the absence of forensic evidence, prosecutors built their case almost entirely on witness testimony. Legal experts say the similarities in the accounts of victims who did not know each other likely led to the conviction, in which the judges accused Katsav of lying.
Katsav becomes the highest-ranking Israeli official ever to enter prison.
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