Sydney church remembers political prisoner
By Caroline Adam, Australian
SYDNEY, Sept 28, AAP - A Sydney church today remembered the plight of a former parishioner who has spent the past 17 years in prison in Israel, after exposing its nuclear capability.
Mordechai Vanunu spent eleven-and-a-half years of that time in solitary confinement in Ashkelon Prison, after being kidnapped by Israeli agents in Rome, and tried in secret.
Vanunu has been remembered at services and vigils around the world, including in London, Washington, DC, Wellington, and at St John's Anglican Church, Darlinghurst, in Sydney's inner-city.
"For 17 years, the parish has campaigned for his release, and will not stop until our brother is once again free," St John's rector the Reverend Greg Thompson said. "Mordechai represents courage and commitment to his beliefs on a scale few among us can every imagine."
Vanunu was born in Morocco in 1954, and emigrated with his family to Israel as a child. He worked at Israel's secret nuclear weapons plant, Dimona, before moving to Sydney in 1986, and joining St John's. He then travelled to London, where he spoke to the Sunday Times about Israel's secret nuclear weapons program, and gave the newspaper photographs he had taken inside the plant.
Vanunu was lured by a female agent to Rome, kidnapped by Israeli agents, tried in secret in Israel, and sentenced to 18 years' imprisonment.
In a recent statement, Vanunu said: "I have sacrificed my freedom and risked my life in order to expose the danger of nuclear weapons which threatens this whole region. "I acted on behalf of all citizens, and all of humanity."
Supporters from Amnesty, peace groups, anti-violence groups, and Christian groups throughout the world continue to campaign for his release.