March 19, 2009 / 12:00 PM / 11 years ago

Israeli ex-president Katsav indicted for rape

Israel's former president Moshe Katsav appears in Jerusalem Magistrates court, April 8, 2008. REUTERS/Yossi Zamir/Pool

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav was indicted on Thursday for rape and other sexual offences against three women who used to work for him, charges that he denies.

The indictment filed at Tel Aviv District Court accuses Katsav of twice raping and, on another occasion, molesting a staffer while he was tourism minister in 1996-1999.

After he became Israel’s ceremonial head of state in 2000, Katsav sexually molested two other employees, according to the indictment, which also alleged that he obstructed justice and tampered with a witness after the scandal became public in 2006.

Katsav, 63, resigned in 2007 and, a year later, rejected a plea bargain under which he could have avoided rape charges and a possible jail term in exchange for admitting lesser sexual offences.

He denies any wrongdoing and describes himself as the victim of a witch-hunt driven by political rivals and the media.

Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Alison Williams

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