Sunday, October 29, 2006

Israeli President Moshe Katsav refuses to resign

Israeli president refuses to resign.

The Israeli president, facing calls for his resignation pending a possible rape indictment, has refused to step down.

"I am the victim of a despicable libel campaign," Moshe Katsav said in a statement on Sunday, declaring his innocence. "The authorities must not let the media lynch disrupt the investigation of the truth," Katsav said, adding "I intend to fight to the end to prove my innocence”. The Israeli president also said he did not intend to resign and would await "the final decision" of attorney general Menachem Mazuz, who has recommended that Katsav step aside from his duties pending a possible rape indictment.

"The president is hurting, but is not afraid. The president is completely certain of his justice and innocence. All the authorities should wait for the end of the investigation, including the attorney general's final decision," Katsav said.


Katsav, a bland career politician who rose from obscurity in July 2000 to become Israel's first president from a right-wing party, has repeatedly denied the charges against him and has vowed to clear his name.

Police opened their investigation in July, after Katsav filed a complaint against a former female employee, identified only as A, saying she was trying to blackmail him. The employee in turn accused him of sexual harassment.

As the inquiry unfolded, police investigated complaints from no fewer than 10 women on charges ranging from rape to sexual harassment and abuse of authority.


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