Ex-Israeli president faces rape charges

Israel's former president, Moshe Katzav, will be charged with a variety of serious sexual offences, including rape, it was announced yesterday.

Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz's decision brings a new phase to the situation which led to the forced resignation of Mr Katzav, who first faced investigation in the summer of 2006.

He will be indicted with two counts of raping Woman A, who worked at the Tourism Ministry between 1998 and 1999 when Mr Katzav was Tourism Minister. He will also be charged with forcible indecent assault against Woman A, and abusing the employer-employee relationship.

He is also beng charged with lesser offences against two women who worked in the President's Residence.

The news of the indictments has come as a shock to the Katzav camp because the former president signed a June 2007 plea bargain when it became clear that Mr Mazuz had concerns about the quality of evidence.

Now, however, new testimony has become available and the country faces the shocking spectacle of a disgraced president defending his tarnished reputation in court.

Last updated: 1:49pm, January 6 2011