Minister denies Katsav’s home confinement request

Source close to internal security minister says former president convicted of rape ‘was number one citizen, but he will be a prisoner like any other’
Omri Efraim

Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch on Saturday rejected former President Moshe Katsav’s request to serve his seven-year prison sentence at home.


„I won’t allow it,” Aharonovitch said in his first response to the request.


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Katsav, who was convicted of two counts of rape, sexual harassment, indecent acts and obstruction of justice, is set to begin serving his sentence on Wednesday.


His family has turned to a number of politicians asking that the former president’s home in Kiryat Malachi be declared a „temporary prison” and that he be allowed to serve his sentence there. Minister Aharonovitch told Ynet, „I have considered the request, but as far as I am concerned, it will never happen.”

Sources close to the minister said prisoners are permitted to serve their sentences at home only in extremely rare cases. „He was the number one citizen, but he will not be the number one prisoner – he will be a prisoner like any other,” one of them said.

Aharonovitch consulted with a number of legal officials who were all against granting the request.

In an „urgent” letter to Aharonovitch, Lior Katsav wrote that while in prison his brother may be exposed to convicts who have had their presidential pardon requests denied during his term. In addition, Lior Katsav said the former president had knowledge of state secrets that would possibly be compromised in prison.


In the letter, which arrived at Aharonovitch’s office on Thursday, Lior Katsav asked that his brother serve his sentence in his home, which is surrounded by stone walls put up by the Shin Bet’s Protective Security Department.

During a cultural forum in Beersheba on Saturday, Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov called the request „complete nonsense.”