Sela's new neighbors: Yigal Amir, mob boss

Escaped rapist moved to ultra-high security wing at Eshel prison.

By REBECCA ANNA STOIL
December 10, 2006 01:39
1 minute read.

While police scramble to understand the details of Tel Aviv serial rapist Benny Sela's escape, Sela himself can be assured of one immediate result of the furor surrounding his escape and recapture - his living conditions have taken a downward swing in comparison with his previous residence in Eshel Prison. Sela, as of 3 a.m. Saturday morning, has returned to being a resident of the Sharon area, but this time as a prisoner in the ultra-high security isolation wing of Rimmonim Prison. The prison is home to the National Isolation Unit, a ward consisting of six cells, each of which is completely isolated from its neighbors. Its present and past residents are a veritable who's who of the Israeli crime scene. Its newest inhabitant - prior to Sela - was Yigal Amir, prime minister Yitzhak Rabin's murderer, who was moved there on Friday from Ayalon Prison where he has been held for years. Francois Abutbul of the notorious crime family is another resident of the infamous "neighborhood," which was also inhabited by crime kingpin Ze'ev Rosenstein prior to his extradition to a prison in the United States. Prisoners have only one hour each day outside their cells, in the yard next to the ward. But even during their time in the yard, each prisoner is entirely alone. Prisoners in this cell block have no contact with other prisoners. This may work in Sela's favor as he was allegedly stabbed twice in the back by fellow prisoners at Eshel Prison. Although prison officials deny that such an incident occurred, scars from the stabbings were used to identify Sela at the Nahariya Police Station on Friday night. Sela said he fled because he had been repeatedly stabbed and abused in jail, claiming that prior to his flight he left a letter to Amos Yaron explaining that abuse was the reason behind his escape. Israel Prison Service (IPS) officials tacked on additional restrictions as well, including allowing visits only by immediate family members and even then mandating that Sela be separated from his visitors by a divider. He will be allowed one half-hour phone call per day and when he is taken out of the prison for hearings, he will be accompanied by the IPS's heavily-armed Nachshon Unit, whose sole specialization is in transporting dangerous prisoners.


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