Court to decide if Vanunu can leave Israel
Mordechai Vanunu, the Israeli whistleblower freed in April after 18 years in jail, will today hear whether he has been successful in his appeal to be allowed to leave the country and to talk to foreigners.
The supreme court in Jerusalem will issue its judgment having heard arguments from Mr Vanunu's lawyers that he represents no security threat if allowed to travel and that he should be allowed to go to the UK or the US.
Representations by British MPs have been made to the Foreign Office minister Lady Symons to request the Israeli government to allow Mr Vanunu to travel to Britain. Depending on today's verdict, further representations by MPs asking Jack Straw to become personally involved are expected.
Mr Vanunu was freed on April 21 from an 18-year sentence for revealing details of Israel's nuclear weapons plant at Dimona to the Sunday Times in London.
He was subsequently lured to Italy in September 1986 by a Mossad agent and was kidnapped there and returned to Israel.
At the time of his release, restrictions were imposed on him forbidding him from leaving the country for a year or communicating with foreigners. He also has to stay in an agreed place, inform the police if he moves and keep away from ports, airports and border areas.
Since his release, Mr Vanunu has been staying at St George's Cathedral in Jerusalem. In an open letter to his supporters about today's petition to the court, he said: "Life is better now but of course it is not normal. I am watched by the Shabak [intelligence services] and by the police. "In that sense I am still not a free man. In fact, I feel a threat to my life and I fear for my life day to day."
He reiterated the statement he made when he was released: "I intend no harm to Israel and have no more secrets to reveal ... I hope the court will allow me to leave Israel and settle somewhere in the United States or Europe.
" This has been my dream for a long time, a dream of living an ordinary life, of marrying, studying and working in some area where I can contribute to peace and nuclear disarmament."
Last week, he wrote to the Guardian to express his regret at the death of Paul Foot, who had been an active member of the campaign to free him.
Ernest Rodker of the Campaign to Free Vanunu and for a Nuclear-free Middle East said yesterday that Mr Vanunu faced a serious threat to his safety if he remained in Israel.
There had been two incidents since his release, said Mr Rodker, when he had faced attack. On one occasion, in court, Mr Vanunu had been threatened by a group of rightwingers and on another occasion he had been recognised in the street while walking near St George's Cathedral and had had to flee and hide.
" This man has done his sentence and it's monstrous that he should not be allowed to leave," Mr Rodker said.