Vanunu Denied Parole by Court -
Must Serve Entire Sentence
Mordechai Vanunu, who in 1986 blew the whistle on Israel's secret
nuclear weapons arsenal, was denied early release by the District
Court of Beersheba today, February 16. The meaning of this ruling is,
that Vanunu, who spent 11 1/2 years of his 18 year sentence in
solitary confinement, will have to complete his entire term in
prison. Vanunu is scheduled to be released in April, 2004.
While the Court made its ruling public today, the reasons behind the
ruling will remain secret, until the security establishment censors
the text and decides what parts, if any, will be made public.
There is little doubt among Vanunu's supporters in Israel, that the
Court's ruling, while partially an act of vindictiveness on the part
of the security establishment, is mostly motivated by the fear of the
Israeli government, that Vanunu's release at this time would
inevitably lead to increased international attention to Israel's
weapons of mass destruction. Like other states that are termed "rogue
nations," Israel maintains facilities for manufacturing nuclear,
biological and chemical weapons, as well as a huge stockpile of
nuclear weapons, yet it has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty
and refuses to allow any independent inspection of its facilities.
Despite the Court's disappointing ruling, Vanunu's message was
present at yesterday's historic 3,000-strong antiwar demonstration in
Tel-Aviv; several demonstrators held placards reading: Blix, come to
Israel; U.N.: Inspect Dimona; Disarm Israel; and We also have Weapons
of Mass Destruction.