First Indictment Issued in Assassination of Rabin

One month after the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Israeli authorities have handed down their first indictment of a suspect held in connection with the assassination.

First Sgt. Arik Schwartz was indicted Monday on charges of stealing weapons from his military base and giving them to confessed assassin Yigal Amir and to Amir’s brother Hagai.

Schwartz, a member of the prestigious Golani brigade, the same unit in which Yigal Amir served, was initially arrested a week after the Nov. 4 assassination of Rabin at a peace rally in Tel Aviv.

Schwartz was accused of providing the weapons to the Amirs during the past year for planned attacks on Palestinians, according to the charge sheet presented to a military court in Haifa.

Schwartz was also charged with hiding the weapons – that he allegedly took from the army – at a friend’s house after the assassination.

Indictments were expected to be issued later this week against the Amir brothers and a friend, Dror Adani.

Four other suspects have been released and are under house arrest. It was not clear whether they will be charged.

Yigal Amir is expected to be charged with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy and disrupting an investigation.

Hagai Amir and Adani are expected to be indicted on charges of involvement in an alleged plot to kill Rabin.

A Tel Aviv judge agreed Sunday to extend the period of Yigal Amir’s detention by an additional four days.

Under Israeli law, suspects can be held up to 30 days without charges being pressed.

But after police said that they had uncovered important new evidence in the case “that could change the nature of the charges,” the judge agreed to extend the period of detention.

In comments to reporters Sunday, Yigal Amir alleged that Israeli authorities had killed a security agent whom he hinted had helped him carry out the assassination.

“Why don’t you publicize that they killed one of Rabin’s bodyguards? The one who shouted `The bullets are dummies,’” Amir told reporters.

Amir has maintained that he acted alone.

Previous reports indicated that it was he who shouted that the bullets were dummies when he shot Rabin, a move believed to be intended to confuse security agents during the fateful moments.

A government spokesman called Amir’s comments on Sunday “nonsense.”

Also Sunday, three leaders of the right-wing group Zo Artzeinu, or This Is Our Land, were charged in Jerusalem with sedition.

The charges came in the wake of a government crackdown on right-wing groups in the wake of the assassination.

Moshe Feiglin, Shmuel Sackett and Rabbi Benny Alon were accused of trying to stop the Israeli-Palestinian peace process by engaging in illegal activities to thward government plans to transfer parts of the West Bank to Palestinian control.

The state said the three had gone beyond the limits of democratic protest this summer, when they had urged supporters to block roads at major intersections and to refuse to cooperate with police attempting to break up their demonstrations.

The group’s leaders maintained in turn that the demonstrations they led had made legitimate use of the principles of civil disobedience and that their actions were protected under the rules of Israel’s democracy.

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