Activists protest on behalf of Vanunu
Peace activists held a protest outside the Israeli Embassy in Dublin today to call for a nuclear whistleblower to be granted asylum in Ireland.
Former technician Mordechai Vanunu, aged 51, has been forbidden to leave Israel since he was released from prison in April after serving 18 years for treason.
In 1986 Mr Vanunu revealed details of the Israeli nuclear plant at Dimona to the Sunday Times newspaper.
He was subsequently abducted from Italy by Israeli secret agents and imprisoned.
But the Northern Ireland-based Peace People group are calling on Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to appeal to the Israeli government to allow Vanunu to come to Ireland to seek asylum.
Under the terms of his release, Mr Vanunu is not permitted to talk to foreigners and has to remain in Israel for a year because he is still a “ security risk”.
He must also notify police if he leaves Jerusalem, where he has been seeking refuge in St George’s Anglican Church in the city.
The Department of Justice said today that any non-national seeking asylum here must first be temporarily resident in the country before they can begin the application process.
“That asylum application will then be considered by the Minister for Justice,” the department spokesperson added.
Dublin representative of the Peace People, Justin Morahan believes that Israel may drop the restrictions on Vanunu if Ireland makes positive moves to grant his asylum.
Mr Morahan, who travelled to Israel for Vanunu’s release in April, said: “If the Irish Government decides to take him in, it would be a humanitarian gesture to show to the world that we are a peaceful, caring country.”
Colm Roddy of Dublin’s Fairview Anti-War Group added: “Ireland should not be afraid of offending Israel or the US by granting Vanunu asylum.”
Protesters outside the Israeli embassy in Ballsbridge today carried placards that read: ‘Shamed Israel State fears the truth – let Vanunu go free’ and ‘ Buried Alive for 18 years but Israel won’t let Vanunu go.’