An Israeli court today ordered former Israeli President Moshe Katsav to prison for seven years following a rape conviction, rejecting his attorneys' request for leniency and making him the highest-ranking Israeli official ever sent to jail. The silver-haired Katsav remained stoic throughout most of the reading, but he broke down in tears upon hearing his sentence and screamed at the judges: "You made a mistake! It is a lie! The girls know it is a lie!" As he exited the courtroom, two of his grown sons scuffled with security guards. "I saw you! You hurt my boy!" Katsav screamed.
Katsav, 65, was convicted in December of raping a former employee and sexually harassing two other women who used to work for him. In his sentencing, the court accused him of exploiting his position to become a sexual offender and ordered him to report to prison on May 8, giving him time to prepare an appeal. The case has been seen as a victory for the Israeli legal system and for women's rights in a decades-long struggle to chip away at the nation's macho culture, which once permitted political and military leaders great liberties. Click for more on the case. (Read more Moshe Katsav stories.)