Yigal Amir among 9,000 jailed voters

Rabin's assassin to be first to cast his ballot in the prison where he's held.

yigal amir court298 88aj (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
yigal amir court298 88aj
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
More than 9,000 prisoners are eligible to vote in Tuesday's elections, including Yigal Amir, who will be the first to cast his ballot in the prison where he is incarcerated. "He will be brought to the polling booth in the prison offices and then he will be returned to his cell, after which the other prisoners will vote," Israel Prisons Service (IPS) spokeswoman Major Orit Stelser said on Sunday. Amir is located in the Ayalon maximum security facility in Ramle, where he is serving a life sentence for the murder of Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. Brigadier Nazeem Sbete, the commander of the Sharon region, said that any prisoner who held an Israeli identity card had the right to vote. "It doesn't matter what he did," he said. At least one prisoner is running in the election. British electrician Daniel Pinner is No. 10 on the Herut list, although given his party's anonymity in the polls it does not appear that he will win a seat. In January, Pinner was convicted of shooting an Arab in the leg during clashes in June between Palestinians and Jews on the beach in Gush Katif. He is due to be sentenced at the beginning of April and, although he has admitted firing his gun in the air, he has denied any wrongdoing. Sbete declined to speculate about the political leanings of the prisoners or which parties they would support. "We don't carry out surveys. We are forbidden from being involved in this," he said. "Election propaganda is also forbidden in the IPS. Every prisoner is allowed to telephone and receive information. Apart from this there is no activity. They are allowed to listen to the election campaigning on television and on the radio." Sbete also wouldn't say which way prison officers tended to vote. "Everybody has their ideology, everybody has their direction. They vote as they want to," he said. The elections commission is to supervise the voting, although the prison officers are to be responsible for ensuring that every inmate is able to cast a ballot, either by taking prisoners to polling booths or by bringing the ballot boxes to the prisoners. Because of this, and in order to strengthen security, the IPS would increase its manpower on duty Tuesday, Sbete said, although he was expecting a quiet day. This was because, as elsewhere in the country, Tuesday is to be a day off in the IPS, so inmates would not go to work or have any classes. Prison officers are to be able to vote inside the jails and would do so by placing their ballots in a double envelope, as soldiers do.