Source Pravda.Ru

Former Israeli justice minister convicted of forcibly kissing young woman

Former Justice Minister Haim Ramon was convicted Wednesday of kissing a young female soldier against her will a case that riveted the country's attention and added another layer of scandal to Israel's beleaguered leadership.

The verdict was expected to clear the way for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to launch a major Cabinet shake-up.

Ramon, 56, was charged with sexual misconduct after kissing the woman, 21, at a party at the Defense Ministry on the first day of Israel's war with Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon last summer. Ramon, who is divorced, said the woman had flirted with him and the kiss was consensual.

"There are some lines that cannot be crossed," said Judge Hayuta Kochan, who read out the unanimous verdict by a three-judge panel. "This was not a kiss of affection. This has all the elements of sexual crime."

Ramon could face up to three years in prison. He faces sentencing on Feb. 21, Israeli media said. Ramon, who left the courthouse without commenting to reporters, is expected to appeal.

In a statement, Olmert's office said the prime minister "expressed sorrow" at Ramon's conviction.

Ramon, a member of Olmert's Kadima Party, was a key political ally of the prime minister and served as justice minister until the indictment forced him to step down last August. He has remained a member of parliament.

Ramon arrived to a chaotic scene at the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court. Hordes of reporters and TV cameras swarmed around him as he made his way to the small courtroom. With photographers snapping his picture, he sat stone-faced ahead of the verdict.

As the half-hour verdict was read, a visibly anxious Ramon held his head in his hands. After the decision, his girlfriend hugged him in support, reports AP.

The verdict said Ramon's defense was full of contradictions, and said it was obvious the young soldier was "authentic and trustworthy" and had suffered a "traumatic experience."

"We completely endorse the plaintiff's version," it said.

Comments
The end of the theory of a Nobel Prize in chemistry?
US sanctions to kill Russian banks and sovereign debt?
Russia starts Star Wars first. USA concerned and puzzled
Russia starts Star Wars first. USA concerned and puzzled
US sanctions to kill Russian banks and sovereign debt?
Turkey and USA take their relationship to breaking point
Iran shows new ICBM that can evade radars
USA and Turkey: The elephant kicks the barking pug aside
Venezuela: Once again, interference from the USA in Latin America
Venezuelan President Maduro: USA fatally obsessed with Russia
Russian government prepares to get rid of US dollar in economy
Russia's long-range Bastion system follows USS Carney in Black Sea waters
Russian government prepares to get rid of US dollar in economy
Russian government prepares to get rid of US dollar in economy
Russian government prepares to get rid of US dollar in economy
Turkey desperately tries to rescue its national currency as it falls to all-time lows
Turkey desperately tries to rescue its national currency as it falls to all-time lows
US sanctions to kill Russian banks and sovereign debt?
Russia builds new robotic tank invulnerable to mines
Russia builds new robotic tank invulnerable to mines
Russia starts Star Wars first. USA concerned and puzzled