Vanunu: Eager to be Free

Mary and Nick Eoloff, adoptive parents of imprisoned nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu, visited Mordechai in Ashkelon Prison, Israel, on October 8 and 9. The Eoloffs arrived in Israel from St. Petersburg, Russia, where on October 5 they accepted the Nuclear Free Future Award on behalf of their imprisoned son. While they were en route from Russia to Israel, news arrived of another honor that was awarded to Mordechai: the Francisca Mateos Foundation in Spain named him as the recipient of their 2002 Fight for Peace Award. (For more information see: Previous recipients include the Dalai Lama and Aung San Su Kyi.

Nick, Mordechai, and Mary
(click for larger image)
While prison officials refused to allow Vanunu to keep or even see the Nuclear Free Future Award, as well as other gifts that were sent by well-wishers, the Eoloffs said that he was pleased with the news and asked many questions about the ceremony that they had attended in Russia. They were able to leave him a copy of the brochure that was issued for the ceremony, as well as some books.

Vanunu told the Eoloffs that he was recently visited by a bishop from the Anglican Church in Israel. In a much more relaxed atmosphere than that of their first visits at Ashkelon, the Eoloffs were finally able to obtain a new photograph of Mordechai - taken by a prison guard with a polaroid camera. In the course of the visits, Mordechai shared with his adoptive parents food that he had purchased at the prison canteen. The Eoloffs said that Mordechai was in good health, had lost some weight since their last visit in May and that he was in good spirits.

Mordechai has a parole hearing scheduled to take place in late October. While trying to remain calm and stoic regarding the outcome of his appeal, Mordechai said that he was eager to be free and to rebuild his life.

-Rayna Moss