VANUNU WELCOME PARTY GAGGED FOR PROTEST
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Scores of international supporters of Mordechai Vanunu, their mouths gagged, will vigil outside his prison today. The gags are a symbolic protest of the suffocating restrictions (see below) Vanunu must face following his release from prison.
Vanunu, the long imprisoned nuclear whistleblower, is set to leave prison Wednesday morning but may not be free.
uthorities have issued a set of restrictions (below) with the intent of "banning" Mordechai Vanunu from participating fully in civil society, at risk of further imprisonment.
Beginning at 1 p.m Israel time, some 90 international supporters from 13 countries will be joined by Israelis in the silent vigil. Representatives of the international delegation will remove their gags to speak at a press conference today at 5 p.m. Israel time (10 a.m. EDT), across the street from Shikma Prison in Ashkelon, Israel.
On Monday, the government slightly relaxed the banning order, telling Vanunu he would be permitted to discuss his abduction, but not his work at Dimona; while sustaining the bar to his leaving the country for at least one year. Other restrictions would be reviewed after six months.
"Small adjustments of the restrictions are not enough," his brother Meir told supporters. "My brother Mordechai is entitled to to leave the country. With the tense and difficult situation in the country, Israel will be unable to guarantee his safety."
Vanunu's supporters will return to the prison early Wednesday, where they will welcome him from the prison with flowers and the release of 18 white doves, one for each year of his prison witness against nuclear weapons and secrecy.
Restrictions on Vanunu's freedom in brief -
In 1986, at the height of the Cold War, Mordechai Vanunu's clandestine photos from inside the Dimona nuclear center exposed its secrets and confirmed Israel to be a major nuclear weapons power. Kidnapped by Israeli agents just before his story was told in The Sunday Times of London, Vanunu was convicted of espionage and treason in a secret trial. He acted out of a belief that in a democracy, people should know about and debate such a pivotal issue as nuclear weapons.