Yigal Amir indicted for murder of Rabin brother, friend charged

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JERUSALEM — As the 30-day mourning period for Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin came to an end, Israeli prosecutors formally charged confessed assassin Yigal Amir with premeditated murder in the Nov. 4 slaying.

According to the charge sheet submitted Tuesday to the Tel Aviv District Court, Amir was also charged with conspiracy and carrying arms without a license.

His brother Hagai was charged with involvement in a conspiracy to kill Rabin and with illegally manufacturing weapons. Dror Adani, a friend of the Amirs, was also charged as a member of the conspiracy.

The three were brought before the court Wednesday to hear the charges against them. The judge set the start of Yigal Amir's trial for Dec. 19 and ordered Amir held in detention until the end of legal proceedings against him. Hagai Amir and Adani were ordered held through Jan. 7.

According to the indictment, Yigal Amir decided after the September 1993 signing of the Declaration of Principles in Washington, D.C., to kill Rabin in order to prevent the implementation of Israel's accord with the Palestinians.

He turned to his brother Hagai and to Adani, who agreed to join the conspiracy, according to the prosecutors.

The charge sheet said the three initially considered blowing up Rabin's car, firing an anti-tank rocket into his apartment or putting nitroglycerin into his apartment's plumbing.

Yigal Amir tried to approach Rabin twice before with a handgun before succeeding at the Nov. 4 peace rally in Tel Aviv's Malchei Yisrael Square (now Yitzhak Rabin Square), according to the indictment.

The Amir brothers discussed the possibility of killing Rabin at the Nov. 4 rally and Hagai tried to convince Yigal to use a sniper rifle with a telescopic scope, the indictment said.

But in the end, Yigal Amir allegedly left his house alone with a pistol after the brothers watched the rally on TV. Neither Hagai nor Adani knew of his plans to carry out the assassination, the indictment said, and were therefore not charged with murder, Israel Radio reported. A separate indictment charged the three with planning attacks against Arabs.

Yigal Amir, who confessed to the killing, has expressed no remorse over his actions. Prosecutors asked that the Amir brothers and Adani be tried before a panel of three judges.

The state has listed 43 witnesses for the prosecution. Earlier in the week, at a hearing during which prosecutors sought to extend the period of Yigal Amir's detention, he alleged that Israeli authorities had killed a security agent whom he hinted had helped him carry out the assassination.

"Why don't you publicize that they killed one of Rabin's bodyguards? The one who shouted `The bullets are dummies,'" Amir told reporters Sunday.

Amir had previously maintained that he acted alone. Earlier reports indicated that he was the one who shouted that the bullets were dummies as he shot Rabin, a move believed intended to confuse nearby security agents. A government spokesman called Amir's comments Sunday "nonsense."

Mordecai Offri, one of two lawyers defending Amir, said Wednesday he had not yet decided how his client would plead.

"I must study the evidence," he said.

Yonatan Ray Goldberg, a former Houston resident who lives in the West Bank settlement of Emanuel and also represents Amir, defended his client.

Amir is a "good man, not like the man portrayed in the media," he said Wednesday.

On Monday, prosecutors handed down their first indictment in connection with the assassination. First Sgt. Arik Schwartz was indicted on charges of stealing weapons from his military base and giving them to Yigal and Hagai Amir.

Schwartz, a member of the prestigious Golani Brigade, the same unit in which Yigal Amir served, was initially arrested a week after the Nov. 4 assassination of Rabin at a peace rally in Tel Aviv.

Schwartz was accused of providing the weapons to the Amirs during the past year for planned attacks on Palestinians, according to the charge sheet presented to a military court in Haifa.

Schwartz was also charged with hiding the weapons that he allegedly took from the army at a friend's house after the assassination.

Meanwhile, po-lice continued their investigation of right-wing figures to deter-mine whether they could be charged with incitement to Rabin's murder.

Kiryat Arba resident and former Knesset member Elyakim Ha'etzni was called in for questioning at the police Serious Crimes Unit headquarters Tuesday. On Sunday, three leaders of the right-wing group Zo Artzeinu, or This Is Our Land, were charged in Jerusalem with sedition.

The charges came in the wake of a government crackdown on right-wing groups in the wake of the assassination. Moshe Feiglin, Shmuel Sackett and Rabbi Benny Alon were accused of trying to stop the Israeli-Palestinian peace process by engaging in illegal activities to thwart government plans to transfer parts of the West Bank to Palestinian control.

The state said the three had gone beyond the limits of democratic protest this summer, when they had urged supporters to block roads at major intersections and to refuse to cooperate with police attempting to break up their demonstrations.

The group's leaders maintained the demonstrations they led made legitimate use of the principles of civil disobedience and that their actions were protected under the rules of Israel's democracy.

There was no indication whether any charges will be brought against five other suspects detained after Rabin's killing.