Yitzhak Rabin's Assassin, Yigal Amir, Sentenced to Life Imprisonment

Convicted of murder and infliction of injury under aggravating circumstances, Amir was sentenced to an additional six years for injuring Yoram Rubin, the security guard.

Yigal Amir was convicted today (Wednesday) at the Tel- Aviv District Court, of murdering Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and of inflicting injury on security guard Yoram Rubin, under aggravating circumstances. The court handed down a sentence of life imprisonment on the first count, and an additional six years on the second.

A panel of judges headed by Justice Edmund Levi ruled in this connection that Amir had stated that he had acted in accordance with the "law of the pursuer", and that "the attempt to endow the murder of Yitzhak Rabin with a seal of legitimacy constitutes brashly cynical use of the Jewish halakha (oral law).

The court rejected defence pleas as to Amir's mental state and the plea alleging that someone else had shot the Prime Minister. The judges ruled that the notion that the Israeli prime minister should be subject to the "law of the pursuer" is such warped thinking as to cause one to shudder. "Israel is governed by democratic procedures, such as Knesset votes of non-confidence and also elections, but the Accused appears to have been in a hurry", said the judges.

As regards the plea that Amir had not intended to murder the prime minister, but merely to paralyse him, the judges ruled that even if the plea whereby he had not intended to commit murder were to be admitted, the possibility of his not being convicted of murder appears doubtful.

Reading from a prepared statement, Amir said: "I know I have caused damage to myself and my family. Whatever I did, I did for the sake of Israel, the Torah of Israel (Jewish religious law), the people of Israel (the Jewish people) and the Land of Israel. This is a bond that will never be dissolved and whoever attempts, or has attempted to sever it, will not prevail. For Israel is not alone. I resolved to do the deed and to take the consequences".

"Leaders who kill many people emerge blameless, whereas I have no system to protect me. What was done here (in the trial) was done with all due ceremonial trappings. No in-depth discussion took place as regards the existential problem of the State of Israel, this subject was not related to at all. This was a public show trial from start to finish. Lord help me".

Following these remarks, Judge Edmund Levi said he was so very proud to live in a State (such as Israel) in which an accused of Amir's type could say such things freely, and that this was a state worth living in.

"Together with the assassin, Yigal Amir, who was in effect the pistol that shot the prime minister, judgement was passed on tens and thousands of others". This was the comment of Shimon Sheves, former director general of the prime minister's office, on the verdict convicting Yigal Amir of the murder of the prime minister and the injuring of his security guard.

Sheves added that it was impossible to forget the incitement and the dreadful atmosphere that pervaded the State of Israel on the eve of the prime minister's murder

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