ISRAEL'S PLAN TO GAG NUCLEAR WHISTLEBLOWER AFTER PRISON CONDEMNED:
The International Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 15, 2004
The restrictions that the Israeli government intends to impose on Prisoner of Conscience Dr. Mordechai Vanunu, a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize, after his release, as have appeared in the Israeli press [Ha'aretz, April 14, 2004], constitute an intolerable, unjustified and arbitrary violation of basic human rights, including freedom of movement and freedom of expression.
Felice Cohen-Joppa, of Tucson, Arizona, Coordinator of the U.S. Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu and now in Israel with 90 internationals from 10 countries preparing to greet Vanunu upon his release on April 21, said: "With these restrictions, the Israeli government is building a special prison just for Mordechai Vanunu. This is an outrageous injustice not fitting for a democratic nation." The restrictions would keep Vanunu in Israel and require permission to leave the town of his residence. He would be prohibited from approaching any borders or embassies, and barred from any communication with foreigners, even those residing in Israel.
The restrictions and prohibitions which the Sharon-Lapid government intends to impose characterize tyrannical regimes, and it is not surprising that the order was signed by the Homeland Defense Commander, based on the draconian State of Emergency Regulations, the legacy of the British Mandate. We wish to remind the public, that former Prime Minister Menachem Begin and two former Justice Ministers, Yakov Shimshon Shapira and Dov Yosef, denounced the regulations as being Nazi in nature.
Dr. Mordechai Vanunu, who was kidnapped nearly 18 years ago in a terrorist act of the Israeli government, should not have spent one day behind bars. He fulfilled his civil duty when he revealed, by means of the free press, information about the manufacture of nuclear weapons in Israel, information that was and is of importance to every citizen. By doing so, Vanunu exercised the democratic principle of the public's right to know.
However, once Vanunu completes the entire prison term to which he was sentenced, his rights as a free citizen must be respected. The restrictions which the Israeli government intends to impose on Vanunu - including a prohibition on leaving the country, severe travel restrictions even within Israel, and no contact with any foreign citizens - are a continuation of the mistreatment that began at the moment he was kidnapped.
We strongly denounce and protest the continued harassment of Dr. Mordechai Vanunu by the Israeli Authorities and call on all people of conscience, in Israel and around the world, to join the struggle to lift all of these restrictions.
We hope, that judges who are committed to human rights are to be found within the Israeli justice establishment, who will declare these restrictions to be illegal, and who will enable the soon-to-be released Prisoner of Conscience to live as a free person wherever he chooses. On April 20-21 Mordechai Vanunu's supporters will gather outside Shikma Prison in Ashkelon. Details about these events will be publicized close to the dates.