An Israeli parole board has rejected an appeal for early release by the country's former president, Moshe Katsav, who is serving a prison sentence for sex crimes.

The board unanimously ruled Wednesday that Katsav should complete his 7 year jail term.

Katsav's attorney, Tzion Amir, said he would appeal the decision.

Katsav resigned in June 2007 after being charged with rape and sexual harassment. He began his sentence in 2011. Katsav has repeatedly professed his innocence.

Israel's presidency is a largely ceremonial office, typically filled by a respected elder statesman expected to rise above politics and serve as a moral compass. Most political power is in the hands of the prime minister.

Katsav was replaced by Nobel peace laureate Shimon Peres, who has since left office.