Ex-Israeli president Moshe Katsav receives early release from prison

Marcy Oster

Moshe Katsav walking out from the Supreme Court in Jerusalem on November 10, 2011. Israel's Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously upheld the Tel Aviv District Court's decision to convict former President Moshe Katsav of two counts of rape and other sexual offenses, and to sentence him to seven years in prison. Photo by Kobi Gideon / Flash90.

Moshe Katsav walking out from the Supreme Court in Jerusalem on November 10, 2011. Israel’s Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously upheld the Tel Aviv District Court’s decision to convict former President Moshe Katsav of two counts of rape and other sexual offenses, and to sentence him to seven years in prison. Photo by Kobi Gideon / Flash90.

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav will receive an early release from prison, where he is serving a sentence for sexual assault convictions.

Katsav, 71, on Sunday received the early parole from the Israel Prisons Service Parole Board. It was his third parole request.

Katsav has served five years of a seven-year jail sentence for rape, sexual assault and harassment. He began serving his sentence in December 2011 and was scheduled to be released in December 2018.

Early parole of up to a one-third reduction in a sentence is common in Israel.

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Katsav was rejected twice after the parole board said he had not expressed remorse for the actions of which he was convicted, and maintained his innocence. The parole board said Sunday that Katsav has taken several steps to express remorse for his actions.

Following his release, Katsav will have to meet regularly with a parole officer, attend rehabilitation and therapy, and refrain from speaking to the media.

The charges stem from complaints by various subordinates when Katsav served as tourism minister and president.

Katsav is the first Israeli president to be sentenced to prison.

He resigned in the wake of the allegations shortly before the end of his term in 2007 and was succeeded by Shimon Peres.

Katsav, who immigrated to Israel from Iran in 1951, was elected president by the Knesset in 2000 in an upset over Peres.

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