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International Outrage Over Israel's Further Punishment of nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu

Contact:
The U.S. Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu
(in the US) 520-323-8697
The Israeli Committee for Mordechai Vanunu and for a Middle East Free of Atomic, Biological and Chemical Weapons - Tel. +972-02-6254530, +972-051-368236

The State of Israel has detailed its intention to continue punishing nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu even after he completes his 18-year prison sentence next Wednesday, April 21. The proposed restrictions, akin to South Africa's "banning" of apartheid's opponents, have sparked outrage world wide among advocates for human rights and nuclear disarmament. According to law, the restrictions are being appealed to the High Court. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel is representing Dr. Vanunu in these proceedings.

Officials who recently visited Ashkelon Prison informed Dr. Vanunu that he faces at least a year of additional restrictions. The restrictions would keep Vanunu in Israel and require advance notice if he wishes to leave the town of his residence. He would be prohibited from approaching any borders or embassies, and barred from possessing a cell phone, using the internet, or having any communication with foreigners at all, even those residing in Israel.

Here is a sampling of international condemnations:

Mary Eoloff [Minnesota, USA] adoptive mother of Mordechai Vanunu:
" This is a destructive decision for Mordechai. The terrible thing is, that the State is denying basic human rights to a person who has already completed his sentence. They are assuming in advance, that he will use his freedom of speech to speak out against Israel. He has the right of expression just like any citizen, and that cannot be taken away from him." [Yediot Ahronot -15 April 2004]

The Israeli Committee for Mordechai Vanunu and for a Middle East Free of Atomic, Biological and Chemical Weapons:
" 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."

Issam Makhoul, Israeli-Arab Member of the Knesset:
" When Mordechai Vanunu is released from that terrible cell in Ashkelon Prison, he will not leave behind a void; he will leave behind a shout, which should become the call for the emergence of an Israeli anti-nuclear movement."

Alyn Ware [New Zealand], Vice-President of International Peace Bureau and global coordinator of the Parliamentary Network for Nuclear Disarmament:
" The situation in the Middle East is very tense at the moment and the safety of well-known peace advocates is of concern. One of the parliamentary network members from Israel, Mr Issam Makhoul, who has spoken out on nuclear weapons issues in the Israeli parliament, narrowly escaped an assassination attempt recently, an action which prevented him from attending an international conference we were organizing on the issue. Given the tense situation, the presence of extremists willing to direct violence against individuals, and the fact that some reports in Israeli media have labelled Vanunu a traitor to the country, we would be concerned if he is prevented from leaving Israel, if that were to be his choice. It is in fact a fundamental and universal human right to be allowed to leave and return to one's country."

Felice Cohen-Joppa [Arizona, USA], Coordinator of the U.S. Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu
" 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 international campaigns to free Mordechai Vanunu together 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. The soon-to-be released Prisoner of Conscience deserves to live as a free person wherever he chooses.

More condemnations are expected as news of the additional punishment circulates.


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