TEL AVIV, Israel, March 22 (UPI) -- An Israeli court Tuesday sentenced former Israeli President Moshe Katsav to seven years in prison for rape and sexual harassment.
The Tel Aviv District Judges George Karra, Judith Shevach and Miriam Sokolov also sentenced Katsav to two years probation and ordered him to pay 100,000 shekels ($28,335) to one of the victims.
On hearing the sentence Katsav broke down in tears and declared: "They are wrong ... They made a serious mistake it will be proven ... The lie won the day. You will all see … . I was not given a chance to defend myself," Channel One Television quoted the eighth president of Israel as saying.
"They are mistaken. It's all lies! The whole sentence is a mistake! Maintaining one's silence is not an admission of guilt!" the former president embraced by his son cried out as Shevach read her opinion, Haaretz said.
The court agreed to a request by Katsav's lawyers to postpone the implementation of the punishment for 45 days to allow Katsav to appeal. The court set May 8 as the date for Katsav to surrender.
"It is a sad day for the State of Israel and its residents," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said when asked to comment on the court decision, Haaretz said.
In December Katsav was convicted of rape, sexual harassment, committing an indecent act while using force, harassing a witness and obstruction of justice.
As Katsav left the courtroom accompanied by his sons and family members a scuffle broke out between some of his relatives, and photographers and media seeking to interview the former president. Police quickly intervened as the former president was led to a waiting car.