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Yigal Amir ( , born May 23, 1970) is the Israelimarker assassin of Prime Minister of Israel Yitzhak Rabin. The assassination took place November 4, 1995 at the conclusion of a rally in Tel Avivmarker. Amir is currently serving a life sentence for murder plus 14 years for conspiracy to murder Rabin on different occasions and for injuring Rabin's bodyguard, Yoram Rubin, under aggravating circumstances.

Before the assassination

Yigal Amir was born to an Orthodox Jewish family in Herzliyamarker, Israelmarker. His mother, Geula, a kindergarten teacher, and his father, Shlomo, a sofer, emigrated to Israel from Yemen. Yigal Amir attended a Haredi elementary school in Herzliya and a high school yeshiva in Tel Aviv. He then joined the Israel Defense Forces as a Hesder student, combining army training in the Golani Brigade with religious study at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh.

Amir was a law and computer science student at Bar-Ilan Universitymarker and a right-wing radical who had strenuously opposed Rabin's signing of the Oslo Accords. During his studies at Bar-Ilan Universitymarker, he was active in organizing protest rallies.

During his years as an activist, Amir became friendly with Avishai Raviv, to whom he revealed his plan to kill Rabin. While Raviv posed as a right-wing radical, he was working for the Shabak, the Israeli secret service. Raviv was tried in 2000 for failing to prevent the assassination of Rabin, but was acquitted on all counts. Nevertheless, controversial assassination conspiracy theories have persisted.

Assassination and trials

On November 4, 1995, after a demonstration held in support of the Oslo Accords, held in Tel Aviv's "Kings of Israel Squaremarker" (now Rabin Square), Amir awaited Rabin in the parking lot adjacent the square, close to Rabin's official limousine, where he shot Rabin twice with a Beretta 84F semi-automatic pistol in .380 ACP caliber. During the act, Amir also injured Yoram Rubin, a security guard, with another shot. Amir was immediately seized by Rabin's bodyguards. Rabin was rushed to Tel Aviv's Ichilov Hospitalmarker. Rabin died on the operating table 40 minutes later of blood loss and a punctured lung.

According to the court Yigal Amir's brother, Hagai Amir, and his friend Dror Adani, were his accomplices in the assassination plan. Amir had attempted to assassinate Rabin twice throughout 1995, but those plans fell through moments before implementation.

Upon hearing that Yitzhak Rabin was dead, Amir told the police he was "satisfied". Although he pleaded guilty, Amir was put on trial for the assassination which lasted from January 23 to March 27, 1996. Despite attempts to defend his actions of killing Rabin on religious grounds, he was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment plus six additional years in prison for injuring Rubin. In the verdict, the three judges wrote:

Every murder is an abominable act, but the act before us is more abominable sevenfold, because not only has the accused not expressed regret or sorrow, but he also seeks to show that he is at peace with himself over the act that he perpetrated.
He who so calmly cuts short another's life, only proves the depth of wretchedness to which [his] values have fallen, and thus he does not merit any regard whatsoever, except pity, because he has lost his humanity.

In a later trial, Amir was sentenced to an additional 5 years (and after an appeal on behalf of the State, 8 years) for conspiring to commit the assassination with his brother Hagai Amir and Dror Adani. All of the sentences were cumulative. In Israel, a sentence of Life Imprisonment is usually reduced to a period of 20–30 years by the president, with the possibility of further reduction for good behavior. However, the president did not reduce the sentence, and president Moshe Katsav said that there is "no forgiveness, no absolution and no pardon" for Yigal Amir. Present Israeli prime minister Benyamin Netanyahu and former premier Ehud Olmert, too, have said that Yigal Amir will never be released from prison.

In prison

Amir was held in Solitary confinement in Beershebamarker's Eshel Prison and moved to Ayalon Prison in 2003. His appeals of both sentences were rejected. Subsequently, a law was passed by the Knessetmarker barring the pardon by the President of Israel for any assassin of a prime minister. Amir has never expressed regret for his actions.

Amir's act has been condemned by Bar-Ilan University and by the vast majority of Israeli politicians from the right wing.

While in prison, Amir became engaged to Larisa Trembovler. Amir had met her years ago, when he was a teacher of Judaism sent by Israel to educate Russian Jews. Larisa first started to visit Amir in jail with her husband. Yigal and Larisa began exchanging letters and speaking on the phone, after she expressed ideological support for him. She left her husband and academic career because of her public personal ties with Amir.

After her divorce, Amir requested to marry Larisa and to receive the privilege to conjugally unite with his intended wife. In January 2004, the Israel Prison Service announced that it would prohibit Amir from marrying in jail and in April 2004, the Tel Avivmarker District Court upheld the decision. However, in August 2004 Yigal Amir and Larisa married outside Israeli official channels according to Jewish law, by giving his father "power of attorney" to transfer a wedding ring to his bride. In July 2005 their marriage was validated by a Rabbinical court, but not by the Israeli Ministry of the Interior. The prison administration issued a statement saying that its policy on "conjugal visits" would not change. In February 2006 Attorney General Menachem Mazuz had ordered the Interior Ministry to register Amir and Larissa as a married couple in response to a petition filed by Larisa.

In late August 2005 Amir applied to the prison authorities to allow him and his new wife to conceive a child through in vitro fertilisation. In March 2006 the Israeli Prison Service allowed Amir by his petition to have a child with his wife through artificial insemination. The Service was to study how this process would be conducted without Amir leaving the prison. A week later it reported that Amir was caught when he tried to give his wife a previously prepared plastic bag with semen; the visit was ended. After the incident, a disciplinary tribunal denied him visits for 30 days and phone calls for 14 days. He was fined NIS 100 (then US $21). When the treatments were withheld due to a petition by several members of Knessetmarker, Yigal Amir refused to eat. After being warned that hunger strikes are in violation of prison regulations, some of his privileges were canceled.

Up until October 20, 2006 the Shabak security service had opposed unsupervised visits. Four days later, Amir was allowed a 10-hour-long conjugal visit with Larisa. Five months later it was reported that Larisa was pregnant, and on October 28, 2007 she gave birth to a son: Yinon Eliya Shalom. The brit milah took place in Rimonim prison on November 4, 2007 after Amir's appeal to the district court to be present at his son's circumcision was accepted.

Since 2007, the Amir family and the "Committee for Democracy" campaigned to release Yigal and Hagai Amir. The campaign includes statements for the media, stickers, posters and short films. Amir was interviewed by the Israeli press in 2008. The release of the interview on television was controversial and subsequently was cancelled. Later in 2008 he went on a hunger strike.


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