Rabin Assassin Convicted Of Murder

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TEL AVIV, Israel: Yigal Amir, the confessed assassin of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, was sentenced to life in prison. Amir showed no remorse for the killing that stunned Israel: "Everything I did, I did for God, for the Torah of Israel, the people of Israel and the land of Israel." Amir told the court he murdered Rabin in order to save Jewish lives. "I was forced to commit this act (because) had I not, the damage to the people of Israel would have been irreversible," Amir said. The defense argued that Amir was not in control of himself when he committed the murder because of his obsession with removing Rabin from office in order to derail the peace process. The three-judge panel rejected that argument and ruled that the former law student carried out the crime "with premeditation and amazing calm." Amir received a mandatory life sentence for the assassination and six years in prison for injuring Rabin's bodyguard. The death penalty in Israel is reserved for Nazi war criminals. The president has authority to reduce a life sentence and typically it is considered after 20 years. However, TIME Jerusalem bureau chief Lisa Beyer says legal analysts expect Amir to be behind bars for the rest of his life. While the assassination transfixed Israelis at the time, Beyer says the trial was not closely watched by most Israelis for two main reasons. "First, since the assassination there have been many incidents to distract people from the trial. Most recently the spate of suicide bombings has had a devastating effect on the country," Beyer says. "Also, there was no dramatic moment in the trial. There was a confession. There was a video tape. There's no doubt he was guilty. There's no doubt why he did it. He has been consistently unremorseful." Beyer expects the assassination to reach a sense of closure after Thursday's release of the Shamgar Commission investigation into Rabin's death. The report may prompt censures and firings of security authorities who failed to protect the prime minister.