amir - Dror Artzi - December 27 2010
Yigal Amir Photo by Dror Artzi
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After 15 years in solitary confinement, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassin, Yigal Amir, will be allowed to meet every other week with another prisoner for Torah study sessions of up to an hour. The change followed a directive from the Supreme Court directing the state to explore possible easing of conditions for Amir. The change was decided at the highest levels of the Shin Bet security service, the prison service and the prosecutor's office.

Haaretz has learned, however, that at this point, no fellow prisoner has been identified by the Shin Bet who is seen as appropriate to engage in the Torah study with Amir. Authorities have not excluded the possibility that an inmate would have to be brought from another prison.

Amir assassinated Prime Minister Rabin in November 1995.The proposed study sessions will be supervised to ensure that Amir does not exploit them to spread his personal beliefs. Last month the Petah Tikva District Court was informed that if this change in Amir's routine is successful, the state would consider easing his conditions in other respects, but there is also a pending request from the state seeking to extend Amir's daily solitary confinement apart from the study sessions, for an additional six months. The state said this is necessary to prevent Amir from spreading his extremist ideology among other prisoners and to protect him from attacks by other inmates.

Even prior to the change, Amir has been allowed family visits once a week and daily walks, alone, in the prison yard. Amir is seeking to end his solitary confinement entirely, claiming he is being discriminated against compared to Hamas prisoners, who are not kept in solitary conditions, that his life would not be threatened in prison and he would not incite other prisoners.