Sixteen and a half years after he was convicted of involvement in the murder of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, Hagai Amir – the brother of assassin Yigal Amir – left Ayalon Prison a free man on Friday morning. Upon leaving the prison gates, Amir made a 'V' sign with his hand, and told reporters: "I am proud of what I did. I have no regrets."
Amir's parents and a few relatives waiting for him outside the Ramle prison, alongside a number of left-wing demonstrators from Meretz and the Working Youth Movement, who protested Amir's release and his failure to express remorse.
- 'Rabin assassin's brother belongs behind bars'
"Hagai Amir is getting out of prison satisfied that he and his brother murdered not only Rabin, but also Rabin's path," Meretz Secretary-General Dror Morag said. "They managed to attack Israeli democracy, and it's still bleeding."
Meretz activists held signs reading: "Price Tag" and Rabin's assassination date "4/11/95." Youth movement protesters shouted: "We won't forget and won't forgive."
Amir's parents, Shlomo and Geula (Photo: Avi Moalem)
The 44-year-old Amir was convicted of conspiracy to commit a crime; unlawful possession of a firearm, and making threats on the life of former prime minister Ariel Sharon. The last charge garnered him an additional year in prison. Amir spent his entire sentence in solitary confinement, and prison authorities denied all his requests for furloughs on the grounds that he was considered dangerous. His petition to have his sentence commuted by a third was likewise denied.
In the words of one prisoner, "All the attention was because it was Yitzhak Rabin who was killed. If (the victim) had been a regular guy, he would have gotten completely different treatment."
From prison, Amir went to stay with family members in a West Bank settlement. His supporters plan to hold four parties for him, two in the West Bank and two inside the Green Line. Organizers said that the events would not be public.
Itamar Fleischman contributed to this report