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A portrait of the late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was hung outside the cell of his assassin, Yigal Amir, in the maximum security Ramon Prison.

A Prisons Service source said the portrait was hung as a prank to annoy the prisoner, who is serving a life sentence.

Amir was transferred to the maximum security prison some three months ago, after giving a series of interviews to Channels 2 and 10 in October last year.

Excerpts of the controversial interviews were aired ahead of time, evoking heavy criticism that led both channels to cancel the broadcasts, scheduled for the end of October 2008.

The IPS punished Amir for the unauthorized interviews by transferring him to the heavily guarded penitentiary near Mitzpe Ramon in the south, where some 700 Palestinian terrorists and other security prisoners are being held.

Amir was also denied the use of the telephone, family visits and conjugal visits for three months.

An IPS source said that wardens hung Rabin's portrait opposite Amir's cell, which is located in the prison's most secure wing, to annoy and goad Amir. So far however, Amir has been ignoring the portrait, although it clearly bothers him, the source said.

The incident has become an inside prison joke among the wardens, the source said.