JERUSALEM — Yitzhak Rabin's convicted assassin said Sunday that he is happy the prime minister is dead, and suggested that killing him convinced Israelis to vote Rabin's Labor Party out of government.
Yigal Amir, dressed in brown prison fatigues and a black skullcap, sat amid six police officers as his lawyers appealed a lower court's sentence of life in prison for Rabin's murder plus six years for wounding a bodyguard.
"I am not sorry he is dead," Amir told the Supreme Court. "I am even happy he is dead because he was a traitor to his country."
In appealing the March sentence, Amir is asking a three-judge panel to reduce the murder charge to manslaughter and allow the additional six-year term to run concurrently with the main sentence instead of consecutively. Judge Eliezer Goldberg said a decision would be reached in the coming days.
In Israel, a life prison term usually means a convict will serve between 16 and 25 years.
Amir's lawyer said the 26-year-old former law student was "unbalanced and irrational" and therefore could not be held accountable for his actions. The defense also renewed claims suggesting the presence of a second shooter at the Tel Aviv peace rally where Rabin was killed Nov. 4.