Urgent Appeal Not to Renew Restrictions
Oslo, April 17, 2004
To: The Honorable Ophir Pinez-Paz
The announced plans to prolong the orders restricting Mr Vanunu´s freedoms, come as yet another shock to people and politicians all around the world. There have been numerous comments in Norwegian press and broadcasting expressing outrage and demanding his freedom.
I would strongly demand his full freedom, on the basis of international law on human rights as well as humanitarian urgency and political grounds.
People everywhere recall the extreme hardship of his imprisonment, both in terms of length and a period of 12 years in isolation, which was a grave case of torture. Several court cases around parole and in July last year around the restrictions did not respect fundamental rules of procedure, since they were based on state evidence held back, not only from Vanunu, but also from his lawyers and scientific advisers.
I was observer at the trial last July in the Supreme Court and in a report I have commented upon the Human Rights aspects of the court´s Judgment of July 26. See http://www.peaceispossible.info/update.html
The court placed much emphasis on a letter where Vanunu announced intentions to critizise Israel all over the world. In my view it was, as you can see from my report, unjustified to build any conclusions on obviously confused utterances from a person put under such extreme mental and physical pressures over such excessive periods.
In addition to the HR violations, the basic problem with the Israeli treatment of Vanunu is that the "risk for national security" appears to be a hollow pretext, functioning as a necessary excuse for not giving him his rights under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. I fail to see how his actions, even in 1986 could harm Israeli national security, since the idea of a secret deterrent weapon contains an inherent contradiction. In fact, by telling Vanunu enhanced the deterrent effect of the weapons program. He acted with a good and honorable intention by making his countrymen aware of a great risk - and I am pleased that increasing numbers of Israeli seem to hold the same view and agree that there is no danger that Mr. Vanunu can harm national security today either, he neither has the will nor - after 20 years - any secret knowledge to cause harm.
In my opinion Vanunu has offered an important service to people everywhere by revealing to the world information relevant to human survival. I wish the gross injustice to this model world citizen to end and trust that you will see how this also serves Israeli interests.
Fredrik S. Heffermehl
Fredrik S. Heffermehl is Vice President of the International Peace Bureau, Geneva. He was a legal observer during the trial of Vanunu's case in July 2004, when the Supreme Court handled his appeal to have the restrictions on his freedom lifted. His report as an observer is posted, with other materials, on http://www.peaceispossible.info/update.html