Israeli PM assassin Yigal Amir on open-ended hunger strike

July 17, 2005

Yigal Amir, the student who assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, began a hunger strike on June 28th in protest against "the basic human rights abuse by Israel's prison authorities", as he describes it. According to the prison service, he's not in a proper hunger strike because he drinks 5 liters of sweet raspberry-flavoured drink (otherwise known as "petel") every day. Disputing that (according to updates from Larisa Trembovler journal) Yigal Amir in a phone conversation insists that it is a lie and he is not given anything near 5 liters of drinks a day. Also regardless of prison service definitions he continues with the hunger strike.

The issue of contention is denial of recognition of his marriage to Larisa Trembovler by Israeli Prisons Service.

In January 2004, when news of the couple's intentions reached the press, Israel Prisons Service Commissioner Lieutenant General Ya'akov Ganot rejected Amir's request to marry in jail, even though by then the Prison Service had itself submitted a formal application for permission to hold the ceremony. Ganot even requested that the legal department be "prepared to defend the decision."

Two months ago, Amir and Trimbovler asked the Association for Civil Rights in Israel to represent them before the Prison Service, and present their desire to marry within the prison walls.

According to the Association, "The right to marry applies to prisoners as well; human rights also apply to Yigal Amir." The association said that the couple performed the "marriage by messenger" for lack of alternatives "after they were deprived of their basic right to marry, as it is normally understood."