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Ari Shamai, the high-profile attorney who represents Yigal Amir, said on Monday that the prison authorities are denying him access to his client.

Three days after Amir, the assassin of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, was transferred to a prison in southern Israel, Shamai said he requested that the Israel Prison Service allow him to meet with Amir so that the two may begin work on formulating an appeal against the transfer.

Amir, who has been the subject of renewed scrutiny in recent days after the country's major television news stations refused to air a series of taped interviews he granted to a journalist, was serving his sentence at a prison in the center of the country prior to his transfer.

"It is the right of the inmate to meet with his lawyer," Shamai said. "This is a fundamental right, and this bewildering and criminal act of refusal is further proof that on all matters related to Amir, the state of Israel is not a democratic state."

Shamai said the prison warden of the facility in which Amir is being held ruled out the idea of Shamai's meeting with Amir, referring the lawyer to broach the matter with senior prison officials. Shamai said his repeated inquiries on the matter have been ignored.

Shamai added that if the prison service does not permit him to meet with Amir, he plans on appealing to the High Court of Justice.

"The request will be considered and answered before the attorney of the convict for life," the Israel Prison Service said in response.