Israeli President Moshe Katzav calls off attendance at Knesset winter session opening Monday after police recommend his trial on rape charges
Groups of lawmakers had threatened to stage protests against his attendance and have started impeachment procedures. Demands for Katzav to suspend himself from presidential duties, which are mainly ceremonial, are spreading.
Sunday, the police presented their case, which includes alleged rape of two staffers, fraud, indecent assault and corruption, to the Attorney General and Chief Prosecutor for their decision on an indictment.
Katzav who enjoys immunity from prosecution can step down and face trial on charges which he claims are part of a trumped up conspiracy against him. Alternatively, the Knesset may vote for his impeachment or an indictment can be held over and filed when he ends his term of office in July 2007.