ISRAEL CONTINUES TO PERSECUTE MORDECHAI VANUNU
from the U.K. Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu
Yesterday, 21st October, was 6 months from the day, on 21st April, when Mordechai Vanunu was so dramatically released after 18 years in Ashkelon Prison. It is the day when the restrictions on his movements within Israel and talking to foreigners, both journalists and friends, was to be reviewed. Already he has had a visit from the police asking him to show reason why the restrictions should not be continued and yesterday, without warning, they called again to state the restrictions will remain in place.
Vanunu is now considering how best to respond and contest the continuation of these restrictions as he considers they are oppressive and infringe his human rights, as well as the terms of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Israel is a state party. It is most likely that his challenge will have to go back to the Supreme Court for determination. He hopes on that occasion he will be given more than a 20 minute hearing in an otherwise totally secret three hour session, as was the procedure last time. Then he was not allowed to hear or even know what was said against him. His supposed secrets continue to be secrets to him! Despite completing his sentence Vanunu is now being told that his very good memory threatens the military might of Israel! On that basis, Mordechai says, he could be held until he dies or loses his mind! Clearly an intolerable situation.
Elsewhere, Mordechai's status and stature grows ever stronger as more and more groups and organisations recognise his survival of 18 years suffering cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in an Israeli prison, while showing no bitterness and still retaining his peaceful beliefs, as a truly remarkable achievement.
He recently won the Lennon Ono Grant for Peace, which his adoptive parents received on his behalf in New York, on 7th October, as he was refused permission to leave Israel to take part in the ceremony. (This was his thirteenth such peace award). He has also been nominated by Mairead Maguire Nobel Peace Prize Laureate on behalf of Irish Peace People for the prestigious Tipperary Peace Prize.
Applications to the governments of Britain, France, Norway, Canada and Ireland by parliamentarians and local groups are or have been made for him to visit, receive nationality papers or be given sanctuary in these countries.
On 30th October at a special ceremony the British Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament will rename its headquarters in Holloway Road, Vanunu House. And, on 20th November the British Campaign will be holding its 12th annual Vanunu benefit at Conway Hall when there will be a telephone link with Mordechai.
As Mordechai said on leaving prison, "I am a symbol of the will of freedom. You cannot break the human spirit - I am proud and happy to do what I did". It is clear from the continuing scandalous persecution of Vanunu that the Israeli authorities still wish to punish and break his spirit. However, he remains steadfast in his beliefs and as he said outside the prison "They had not succeeded to make me crazy" and he adds, "they will not now".
He told the Campaign he is determined not to be silenced in his continuing opposition to Israel's enormously dangerous nuclear stockpile and the threat they pose to the Middle East.