yigal amir 298 88 AP.
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Police officials released an interrogation tape Monday depicting Yigal Amir, the jailed assassin of Yitzhak Rabin, in an unapologetic confession.
"I decided to kill [former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin] and I do not regret it," Amir told police, mere hours after his arrest. "I approached him before he got into his car and shot him with three bullets."
When asked if he had any regrets over what he had done, Amir responded "God forbid" and added that his aim was to kill Rabin and "silence him politically." Police Insp.-Gen David Cohen gave the tape to Rabin's daughter Dalia Rabin-Pelosoff, who then released it to several media outlets.
The release of the tape came in the wake of a nationwide "Free Amir" campaign, led by supporters of Amir who call themselves the "Committee for Democracy."
A spokesman for the committee released a statement arguing that if Israel was "willing to release terrorists for peace, they must release Yigal Amir." He said that they would hand out 150,000 copies of a video which proclaims Amir's innocence and shows footage of Amir as a young child.
The committee is pushing to have Amir released by the 12th anniversary of Rabin's death this week, which is also when Amir and his wife are expecting their first child. Surveys published by the Teleseker company last week suggested that more than 20 percent of the religious population in Israel believes that Amir should be pardoned.
Despite the surveys and campaign, Knesset members from across the spectrum resoundingly declared that they would not allow the pardon.
"Amir is a despicable murderer who may have committed the worst crime by a Jew against a Jew since the founding of the state, and the Labor party will not permit commuting the sentence," said Labor Chairman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak at a faction meeting Monday.
Earlier in the day, Opposition Leader and Likud Chairman Binyamin Netanyahu said that if it were up to him, Amir would never be released from prison.
A survey by The Jerusalem Post of the religious party MKs revealed that no lawmakers from the NU-NRP, UTJ, or Shas parties support the release of Amir.
MK Avshalom Vilan (Meretz), who initiated a law seven years ago that guarantees a life sentence to anyone who assassinates a prime minister, said that no Knesset member would "shame himself" by supporting the release of Amir.
"This crime was widely recognized as one of the worst in our nation's history. The law passed by a wide majority, and it legally guarantees that he [Amir] will serve for life. No Knesset majority will ever overturn that," said Vilan.
On November 4, 1995 Amir fired three bullets into Rabin's back at the end of a Tel Aviv peace rally. Rabin had recently earned the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to create a lasting peace agreement with Palestinian Chairman Yasser Arafat.
Amir received a life sentence for the assassination of Rabin that he is currently serving in solitary confinement in a Beersheba prison. One year ago he was given permission to hold conjugal visits with his wife, Larissa Trembobler, who is currently expecting their first child.
Israel will mark the anniversary of Rabin's death with a special Knesset session. Supporters of Amir are planning to hold a counter-demonstration outside the Knesset.
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