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      "New" Evidence Pushes Amir to Request New Trial

      Yigal Amir, who has barely ever denied assassinating PM Yitzchak Rabin, is now strongly considering requesting a new trial - now that the case prosecutor has raised some major questions herself.
      By Hillel Fendel
      First Publish: 11/13/2005, 6:58 AM / Last Update: 10/31/2005, 11:33 AM

      Atty. Penina Guy, the prosecutor in Amir's trial in early 1996, said Sunday morning that some aspects of the murder are still not clear to her: "It's still a mystery to me how he managed to shoot three bullets and at the same time even approach Rabin, and, according to the ballistic evidence, actually touch Rabin's jacket for the third bullet."

      Guy was apparently referring to the fact that Amir was not killed immediately after he began shooting. Former IDF Chief of Staff Amnon Lipkin-Shachak and former General Security Service Chief Carmi Gillon both said over the past two days that Amir should have been killed immediately. "Unfortunately, the guards did not act the way they were taught," Gillon said. "They failed in that they didn't shoot him at once, like a dog."

      However, Amir himself was surprised by the end of Prosecutor Guy's statement. According to his wife, Larissa Trimbobler, Yigal was surprised to hear that the murderer came as near as Rabin's jacket. "Yigal has always said that this is not true," she told Arutz-7 today. "He did not approach Rabin; rather, Rabin got further and further away from him. Yigal also says that he certainly never touched Rabin or his jacket."

      Though many theories have been raised over the years claiming that someone other than Amir actually murdered Rabin, Trimbobler says her husband never put much stock in these. "They are all just speculation," she said. "But now that someone in authority has said that hard ballistic evidence shows that perhaps additional shots were fired by someone other than him, he feels this should be investigated."

      Much evidence abounds that Amir did not shoot the fatal bullets. Two police reports filed several days after the assassination show that no gunpowder nor metal residues were found on Amir's hands when he was tested very shortly after the shots were fired.

      In addition, Chief Lieutenant Baruch Gladstein of Israel Police's Materials and Fibers Laboratory tested the clothing of Yitzhak Rabin and his bodyguard Yoram Rubin with the aim of determing the range of the shots. He testified at Amir's trial that one of the shots that killed Rabin was fired from point-blank range. The shot was "characterized by a massed abundance of gunpowder, a large quantity of lead and a 6-centimeter tear [in Rabin's jacket]," Gladstein said, "- all the characteristics of a point blank shot."

      The police expert Gladstein emphasized in his testimony that the gun barrel was placed on Rabin's body, and not even a centimeter away: "Even if the shot is from a centimeter, two or three you won't see the tearing and abundance of gunpowder. These are evident only from point blank shots."

      In the Kempler video which documented the Rabin assassination, Amir is not seen firing at point blank range. Click here and fast forward to 7:40 minute mark to view the actual shots. In the video, Amir is tracked with a red spot.

      Interestingly, Amir was allowed to cross-examine Gladstein, and said, "According to your testimony, I placed the gun right on his back... We need a new expert because I didn't shoot from point blank range."

      Asked today whether the request for a new trial is a genuine option for her husband, Larissa Trimbobler said, "I believe so. We have to find a good lawyer to help us."

      Amir is serving a life sentence, with no realistic possibility of parole. The Prison Service asked on Monday to extend the order to hold Amir in isolation. The Service says it has secret information indicating an attempt to make contact between Amir and "extreme right-wing elements."

      Justice Minister Tzippy Livny said that Amir's request for a new trial is "maddening to the heart and mind, not serious, and infuriating." She met this morning with President Moshe Katzav, who told her, "I have no intention of considering lightening his sentence or pardoning him, and I will advise the next President to do the same."

      Left-wing politicians were incensed at the concept of a new trial for Yigal Amir. Their comments included the following:

      Peace Now chairman Yariv Oppenheimer: "This request is chilling, and is just part of a propaganda campaign designed to have him released. The President must promise the public that Amir will never be pardoned."

      Speaking in the name of democracy, Labor MK and party leader candidate Matan Vilnai: "Any mention of this scum is unnecessary."

      MK Amir Peretz, another Labor Party leader candidate: "No opening must be left for Yigal Amir to return to Israeli society."

      The Labor Party Youth Movement: "Amir's punishment must be made more severe, and he must be shut up once and for all."

      Meretz MK Ran Cohen: "It's just a provocation. The courts will not even consider responding positively to Amir's request."

      In December 2001, the Knesset passed a law preventing a presidential pardon of the murderer of a Prime Minister. The law does not mention or reduce the president's powers directly, but rather restricts the Parole Board from recommending a pardon or a shortening of the assassin's sentence.

      Coincidentally, Amir's brother Haggai, who is serving a 12-year sentence for his role in the assassination, was brought before a Netanya Magistrates Court judge Monday. He allegedly expressed threats against Prime Minister Sharon from his prison cell several weeks ago.