(TEL AVIV) -- Moshe Katsav, Israel's president from 2000 to 2007, has been sentenced to seven years in prison on charges of rape and other sexual offenses brought against him last December.
He is the highest-ranking Israeli official ever jailed.
Judges said they handed down a severe punishment because Katsav sexually abused women over many years and while holding public office. Rape, they said, damages and destroys a person's soul.
The sentence is being praised in Israel as a victory for the country's legal system.
Lawyers for the former president plan to appeal the sentence.
Katsav reports to jail May 8.
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