Yigal Amir, currently serving a life sentence for the murder of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, has engaged the services of prominent right-wing attorney Yoram Sheftel to appeal his case before the Supreme Court, asking that it overturn legislation passed by the Knesset in 2001 that forbids the Knesset from discussing his early release.
Sheftel, also a popular talk radio host, has in the past represented other high-profile figures such as Elor Azariya. In addition, last year, when Yair Netanyahu, the son of the current Prime Minister, wrote accusing Rabin of murdering Jews on the Altalena ship transporting weapons to Jewish fighters to be used in the War of Independence, it was Sheftel who came to the younger Netanyahu’s defense, confirming the historical accuracy of his statements.
According to a Channel 12 news report, Sheftel plans to focus his appeal on Amir’s behalf on the fact that the legislation, passed six years following Rabin’s death, was crafted specifically against his client. “This is a personalized piece of legislation,” he said, “as it applies only to one person. It is also a retroactive piece of legislation, as it was only passed six years after the event it refers to. This makes it a barbaric law, as it decisively cancels out the fundamental rights of the person it was designed against.”
The legislation in question bars the Knesset committee that deals with early release of prisoners from recommending either a pardon or a shortening of the sentence of anyone convicted of assassinating a prime minister due to political-ideological reasons. Dubbed the “Yigal Amir law,” its focus is evidently on one man alone, as there has never been another case of assassination of a prime minister from the time the State was established.
Amir is now arguing that the law should not apply to him, as it was only passed six years after Rabin’s death, and that the legislation itself should be overturned, as it is personal in nature. His new attorney, Yoram Sheftel, noted that, “There is no punishment in law if there is no prior warning of the punishment – and this applies also to changing the rules ‘in the middle of the game’ to apply a harsher punishment than existed previously. It’s time we released Yigal Amir – not today, not tomorrow, but yesterday already.”