Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Israel's President faces rape charge

Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 January 2007, 15:01 GMT
Israeli President Moshe Katsav is to be charged with rape and abuse of power, the ministry of justice has announced.

Correspondents say a final decision on the indictment will be made only after a hearing, in which Mr Katsav will be able to present his side of the case.

Mr Katsav, whose position is largely ceremonial, has denied any wrongdoing. He has faced allegations of rape and sexual misconduct from several female employees. The has been no comment from the president or his office.

The president enjoys immunity in Israel, but he can be prosecuted after he leaves office. Mr Katsav's term ends later this year, but his lawyers have previously indicated he would resign if he was indicted.

Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz's office issued a statement saying that it had collected enough evidence to support an indictment against Mr Katsav on charges of rape, harassment, abuse of power and obstruction of justice, among other crimes.


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