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AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL JOINS CALL FOR MORDECHAI VANUNU'S UNCONDITIONAL RELEASE

Amnesty International's press office, London
Voice: +44 20 7413 5566

April 19, 2004

Amnesty International today joined the global call for the unconditional release of Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu. In a statement from their London office, the international human rights organization said it "urges the Israeli authorities not to impose any restrictions or conditions on former nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu upon his release on Wednesday after 18 years in jail."

"Mordechai Vanunu should be allowed to exercise his rights to freedom of movement, association and expression in Israel and should be allowed to leave the country if he wishes," said Amnesty International. "His release is long overdue and Israel must not continue to violate his fundamental human rights once he is released from prison."

Their statement continues:

"...In recent months Israeli officials have publicly supported and called for Vanunu to be detained beyond expiry of his sentence, or for his freedom to be restricted upon his release. Available information indicates that the Israeli authorities intend to impose heavy restrictions on Vanunu's freedom upon his release, including banning him from leaving the country, confining him to assigned residence, and denying him the right to be in contact with journalists and foreigners.

"Israel is bound by international law not to impose arbitrary restrictions on Mordechai Vanunu, including on his right to travel within the country or abroad, his right to peaceful association with others and his right to express his opinions," said Amnesty International.

Background

Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Israel has ratified and is obliged to uphold, stipulates that:

" everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence" and that "everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own".

The rights to freedom of expression and association are guaranteed by Articles 19 and 21 of the same Covenant.


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