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Monday, September 9, 2013

Former president Moshe Katsav granted first furlough from prison

Former president Moshe Katsav was released from prison on Monday for a 24-hour furlough, which he will spend at home with his family.

Immediately after leaving the minimum-security Maasiyahu Prison in Ramle, where he is serving his sentence, Katsav traveled to the police station in his home town of Kiryat Malachi, where he signed a document certifying his release. From there he is to proceed to his home, and will attend services at his usual synagogue.

Katsav has completed a quarter of the seven-year prison sentence that he is serving for two counts of rape, indecent acts committed by force, sexual harassment of female employees at his workplace and obstruction of justice.

Katsav’s vacation was approved even though he never admitted his guilt, which is one of the criteria for granting furloughs to sex offenders. Israel Prison Service officials said he was granted the furlough because he has participated in treatment workshops for sex offenders. About a year and a half ago, Katsav was given several hours of leave to attend his son’s wedding.

Despite the support he received from residents of Kiryat Malachi when he began serving his sentence, this morning the streets near his home were deserted. “We heard on the news that he was coming here, but no more. Maybe we’ll get to see him, but it’s better that he will be with his family and gather strength,” a neighbor said.

Another neighbor registered a change in the city's attitudes toward its most famous resident. "Kiryat Malachi is trying to forget this story. In the past, people would gather at his house, today there is no one here, his family isn't talking about it, nothing," she said.

At the same time on Tuesday, Katsav will return to the police station in Kiryat Malachi. From there he will return to Maasiyahu Prison, where he will continue serving his sentence in the religious wing.

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