TEL AVIV, Israel, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav was found guilty Thursday of two counts of rape, sexual harassment and a forceful indecent act.
Three judges in Tel Aviv District Court determined that a victim in the Tourism Ministry who accused Katsav of rape and a forceful indecent act was truthful and Katsav's alibi was successfully disproved, Ynetnews.com reported.
"The defendant was found unreliable and the complainant's testimony on her rape in the office and hotel were found credible," Judge George Karra said. "No basis was found to the claim that the relations took place with her agreement."
Katsav was convicted of two instances of rape and one forceful indecent act against a victim identified as "A" of the Tourism Ministry; one indecent act and sexual harassment of "L" of the president's residence, and sexual harassment of "H," also of the president's residence.
Women's rights groups hailed the verdict.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called the verdict "a sad day for the state of Israel," The Jerusalem Post reported.
The Tel Aviv District Court "sent messages, loud and clear: That all men and women are equal under the law, and that women have full rights over their own bodies," Netanyahu said.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the conviction was a "difficult and sad day" for Israel, as well as a day "in which our justice system proved again that everyone is equal before the law."
"The justice system is a central source of strength for Israeli democracy," he added.
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni said the court's ruling would "strengthen Israeli society," stressing that the verdict was "definitely not simple, and there's no joy involved for anyone."