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Journalists Demand That Israel Lifts "Grotesque and Perverse" Ban on Freed Whistle-Blower

20 Apr 2004

The International Federation of Journalists today accused the Israeli authorities of using a "grotesque and perverse legal device" to gag Mordechai Vanunu, the technician who revealed the truth about Israel's nuclear arsenal who is due to be released this Wednesday after serving 18 years in jail.

Vanunu who was a worker at the Dimona Nuclear Plant was kidnapped by the Israeli Security Services in Rome after he revealed that Israel had developed nuclear weapons to Britain's Sunday Times newspaper.

He is being barred from speaking with the media about his time at the plant and the circumstances of his arrest after his release and has been told not to meet with foreigners and will not be allowed to leave his home town without reporting to police.

The legal authority for this action comes from state of emergency laws dating back to 1945 and the time of the British control of the region.

"This is a grotesque and perverse legal device that flies in the face of democracy and natural justice," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "It further punishes a man who has served long years in prison for alerting the world to a horrifying reality that should never have been secret in the first place."

The IFJ is calling on the Israeli authorities to lift the ban and to "face up to the truth about its place in the democratic world."

The protection of whistle-blowers like Vanunu is vital to free expression says the IFJ, which is campaigning for greater protection for journalists' sources of information.

"The Vanunu case has haunted journalism for many years," said White. "We must ensure that such victimization should never happen again. When a citizen reveals information in good conscience and in the public interest, journalists must be free to report it. This must be accepted in all democratic countries and Israel should recognised its responsibility to democracy and should have the confidence to let Vanunu return to society without any further restrictions."

Further information: + 32 2 235 22 00
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries.


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