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Court Rejects Appeal to Reverse Life Sentence of Rabin’s Assassin

August 5, 1996
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Israel’s Supreme Court has rejected a petition by Yigal Amir challenging the life sentence handed down against him earlier this year for assassinating Yitzhak Rabin.

In its unanimous decision, the three-judge panel said this week that there was no doubt the former law student had murdered Rabin.

They called the assassination a “villainous act” and rejected the claims of Amir’s lawyers that a second, unknown gunman shot Rabin, calling the assertions “fictional detective stories.”

Amir, a religious Jew, had admitted during his trial that he shot Rabin as he left a Nov. 4 peace rally in Tel Aviv.

He said he intended only to paralyze the Israeli leader. But, he added, he was happy when he learned Rabin died.

Amir sought religious justification for his act, saying that he believed Rabin’s peace policies with the Palestinians were endangering Jewish lives.

Amir was not at Sunday’s ruling.

In a letter to the justices, Amir said he was on a hunger strike to protest his prison conditions and that the journey to the Jerusalem courthouse would be “too taxing.”

Amir’s sister, Hadas, said, “There is no justice, or attempt to be objective,” in the case.

“They gave him the life sentence, but the prison authorities have given him the death sentence,” she told Israel Radio.

In March, the Tel Aviv District Court sentenced Amir to life in prison for assassinating Rabin.

Amir is also a defendant in a second trial, along with his brother, Hagai, and a friend, Dror Adani, for plotting to kill Rabin.

A verdict in that case is expected in September.

In a separate development, Israeli prison authorities last week discovered electrical cords and other materials that could be used to make explosives in the prison cell of Hagai Amir.

Acting on a tip, prison authorities searched Amir’s cell and found electrical wiring, pages from physics and chemistry textbooks, and sketches of electric circuits.

Public Security Minister Avigdor Kahalani ordered an investigation into how Amir acquired the materials.

Hagai Amir was arrested a day after his younger brother carried out the assassination.

Investigators later discovered grenades and explosives that Hagai Amir had stockpiled in the family’s home.

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