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Vanunu's travel ban extended one year

By JPOST.COM STAFF


Apr. 19, 2005
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFu ll&cid=1113877270826

The Interior Ministry has extended by one year the order forbidding nuclear whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu from leaving country by another year, Interior Minister Ophir Paz-Pines said Tuesday morning.

After being imprisoned for 18 years for divulging intelligence about Israel's nuclear capacity to the British press, Vanunu was released last year but under severe restrictions: He is not allowed to leave Israel and his movements within the country are limited.

Last month, the state indicted Vanunu for violating the orders 21 times since his release.

Just a week ago the nuclear spy told Channel 1 and Channel 2 TV reporters, a few minutes before the opening of his trial in Jerusalem Magistrate's Court, that Israel possesses 200 atomic, hydrogen and neutron bombs and produced 40 kilograms of plutonium each year. In an interview with Army Radio Tuesday morning, Ophir Paz-Pines remarked that Vanunu's leaking of information regarding Israel's nuclear capabilities was possibly the single most significant compromise of Israel's strategic security.

Preventing Vanunu from leaving the country is "a preventative measure," Paz-Pines stressed, since the nuclear whistle-blower has said that he would continue speaking to foreign presses to disclose any information he knows.

Paz-Pines also noted that security officials had approached him warning that it is likely that Vanunu knows even more intelligence information than he has divulged thus far, and that it would be dangerous to allow him the opportunity to reveal it.

Vanunu has said repeatedly that given the opportunity, he would continue to publicize the information he knows. "I won't be silenced. I will exercise my right to freedom of expression," he has said. The Knesset Law Committee is set to discuss Vanunu Tuesday during its weekly meeting.


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