International Petition Calls for Israel to Lift Restrictions Against Mordechai Vanunu
The International Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Artist Yoko Ono, Musician Pete Seeger, among 150 international figures issuing a petition telling Israel: Let the nuclear whistleblower go free!
As nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu, released from 18 years imprisonment on April 21, 2004, prepares to challenge the restrictions imposed against him before the High Court of Justice in Jerusalem, an international petition calling for Israel to lift the restrictions and let him go free will be made public in Israel on July 9. The 150 signatories include prominent figures from diverse backgrounds, such as Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mairead Maguire and Prof. Joseph Rotblat, artists and performers including Yoko Ono, Julie Christie, Susannah York, and Anton Kuerti; clergy; parliamentarians from four countries and a host of scientists and nuclear experts.
Signatories from Israel include Knesset (parliament) Member Issam Makhoul, a longtime campaigner for nuclear disarmament in Israel; Rabbi Jeremy Milgrom of Clergy for Peace; and renowned poet and playwright Yitzhak Laor.
Initiated by the International Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu, the petition is being released two days ahead of the first hearing on Vanunu's petition to the High Court of Justice in Israel, against the restrictions that violate his human rights and make it impossible for him to rejoin society after his lengthy imprisonment. Vanunu is represented by attorneys Dan Yakir and Oded Feller of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI).
The restrictions, which include a ban on leaving Israel, making contact with foreign citizens, coming within 300 meters of foreign embassies and leaving his city of residence without prior permission from security agencies, are based in part on 1945 British Mandate State of Emergency Regulations, which are still in force in Israel, 56 years after the end of the British Mandate. In addition to severely limiting his social contacts and preventing his rehabilitation, the effect of the restrictions on Vanunu is similar to "banning" as was practiced in South Africa under Apartheid - controlling his human interaction, place of residence, the type and content of his communications. And, while forcing Vanunu to remain a hostage in Israel, the State is not providing any protection for him, despite repeated assaults and threats by right-wing thugs, starting immediately after his release from Ashkelon prison and continuing sporadically since then.
The International Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu is continuing to work for Vanunu's full freedom and for a Middle East free of all weapons of mass destruction. Recent developments in Israel - including the planned distribution of purported "anti-radiation" pills to people residing near the Dimona and Nachal Sorek reactors; Israel's refusal to open its nuclear installations to independent international inspection in the course of Mohammad ElBaradei's official visit to Israel; and the State's restriction of Mordechai Vanunu even after the completion of his full prison term - indicate that Israel is determined to continue manufacturing and stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, while hiding its illegal and dangerous acts behind an iron curtain of concealment and intimidation.
As additional parliamentarians, performers, academics and scientists around the world are adding their names to the petition, the International Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu calls on Israel to end its mistreatment of the nuclear whistleblower and let him go free.
-- Israel, firstname.lastname@example.org (Rayna Moss)