Ex-justice minister Haim Ramon to appeal his conviction for indecent act

Wednesday, the three Tel Aviv magistrates unanimously found the former minister, 56, guilty of forcibly kissing a 20-year old girl officer, who brought the complaint. The maximum penalty for this crime is three years in prison. Sentencing will be announced on Feb. 21. He is therefore barred from returning to the post of justice minister from which he suspended himself for the trial. A movement in the Knesset wants him also to give up his seat on the Kadima list. Prime minister Ehud Olmert voiced deep regret for the conviction. Ramon’s departure opens the way for a cabinet reshuffle.
Ramon’s political career may also be over given the ruling that his defense was “not credible and manipulative.” The judges completely accepted the prosecution’s case and the integrity of the officer who brought the complaint. She did not lie or flirt with the minister, as he charged. The evidence for the defense presented by the chief of the prime minister’s bureau, Shula Zaken, was judged unreliable and motivated by a vested interest. The judges ruled that a kiss inside the mouth without consent falls under the legal heading of an indecent sexual act in every respect.

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