Page last updated at 18:37 GMT, Thursday, 4 February 2010

Israel 'vengeful' on ex-PM Rabin's killer Yigal Amir

Yigal Amir (pictured in 2007)
Amir said he did not pose a danger to anyone

The assassin of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin has accused the authorities of keeping him in solitary confinement out of vengeance.

Yigal Amir, who shot Rabin in November 1995, said he was being unfairly treated because of who he was.

Amir spoke to journalists at a court hearing to decide whether his solitary confinement should be extended.

He has been in isolation since being jailed for life in 1996 for killing Rabin at a Tel Aviv peace rally.

In comments published on the YNet website, Amir said the state's request to extend his solitary confinement was a "vengeful decision".

Longest isolation

"If the purpose here is to punish, they should say so," he said.

Amir said the reasons given by the state for his continued solitary confinement on security grounds were a pretence.

"I am not a security threat," he said. "I never encountered a prisoner who cursed at me - the opposite is true. I was with Arab security prisoners and I get along well with everyone."

Amir, now 39, has been held in solitary confinement longer than any other prisoner in Israel, YNet reported.

Interviews with him are rare and have previously caused outrage in Israel, where Amir remains a divisive figure.

Plans to broadcast the first and only television interviews with him in 2008 were scrapped after widespread criticism.

Despite his solitary confinement, Amir managed to marry in 2004 and fathered a child three years later.

An ultra-nationalist Jew, Amir shot Rabin in protest at the peace accords he signed with former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in 1993.

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