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Moshe Katzav in 'deep distress'

    The disgraced former Israeli president Moshe Katzav is in "very bad shape", according to his lawyers.

    Tel Aviv District Court announced that the pre-sentencing hearing for Katzav, 65, would take place on February 22. Last month, a Tel Aviv court found the former president guilty of two counts of rape and other serious sexual offences.

    Katzav could face around 16 years in prison but the final sentence will not be decided until late February or early March according to one of his defence lawyers, Zion Amir.

    Amir told Israel's Army Radio that the ex-president was in a state of deep distress. He said: "Whoever wanted to see the former president's downfall has gotten what he wants. The man is in bad shape, very bad."

    He refused to speculate on what Katzav's next course of action would be, or whether he feared for his safety.

    The legal team is expected to wait for the sentence to be delivered before deciding whether to appeal.

    Last week the JC conducted an exclusive interview with one of Katzav's victims, an Israeli political adviser whose testimony was crucial in his conviction.

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