Vanunu denied visits after he spoke to another prisoner
By Baruch Kra and Yossi Melman, Ha'aretz Correspondents
The Prisons Service cancelled Mordechai Vanunu's visitation privileges after the jailed nuclear whistle-blower talked to another prisoner Sunday at the Shikma prison.
The prisoner Vanunu spoke to was put in isolation for several hours, and after questioning it became clear that he did not initiate the conversation with Vanunu, and only answered a question posed to him during a walk in the prison yard.
The Shikma prison inmates are not allowed to make any contact with Vanunu, but the prisoner said he was not familiar with the regulations, because he was transferred to the Shikma prison recently.
Vanunu, who is set to complete his 18 year prison sentence on April 21, submitted a request for a passport with the Prison Service almost a month ago, security sources told Ha'aretz last week.
The Prisons Service transferred Vanunu's request to the chief security officer of the Defense Ministry, Yehiel Horev, and the Shin Bet security service, but the application never reached the only body authorized to issue Israeli citizens with passports, the Interior Ministry, as it is being held up by the Shin Bet.
An Interior Ministry official confirmed last week that no application from Vanunu had been received, and that any such application would be weighed in conjunction with the relevant security officials.
Attorney General Menachem Mazuz is due to rule in the coming days what restrictions will be placed on Vanunu after he is released on April 21. Mazuz and Justice Minister Yosef Lapid have both hinted of late at various government forums that the main restriction likely to be imposed on the former nuclear technician is a blanket ban on overseas travel. It is highly unlikely, therefore, that he will be issued a passport, and an appeal to the High Court of Justice is almost certain to follow.
Even before Vanunu's release from prison, however, there are already differences of opinion between Mazuz and Horev as to how Vanunu's freedom will be restricted. Horev, whose proposals to re-arrest Vanunu on an administrative detention order or to place him under house arrest have already been rejected by the prime minister, the defense minister and the attorney general, is seeking to ensure that a wide-ranging package of restriction is in place when Vanunu finally leaves jail.