ISRAELI NUCLEAR WHISTLEBLOWER -
RELEASED FROM PRISON, BUT NOT YET FREE
by Felice Cohen-Joppa
"My message today to all the world is 'Open Dimona reactor for
inspection'.... I will continue to speak against all kinds of nuclear weapons."
On April 21, 2004, Mordechai Vanunu was released from Israel's Ashkelon Prison. In spite of the fact that he served his entire 18 year sentence (more than 11 1/2 years spent in solitary confinement), Israel has imposed severe restrictions that unjustly limit his speech and movement - including forbidding his contact with foreigners, controlling his movements inside Israel, and forbidding him to leave Israel. With these restrictions, Israel has created a special prison just for Mordechai Vanunu.
At the height of the Cold War and a global nuclear disarmament movement, Mordechai Vanunu was a lab technician at the Dimona nuclear facility in the Negev Desert. He later, in 1986, told his story and gave photos he had taken inside the factory to the London Sunday Times, in an act of conscience. He believed the world had the right to know about Israel 's undisclosed nuclear weapons program. Days before his story and photos were published, Israeli agents lured Vanunu from London, kidnapped him in Rome, and smuggled him back to Israel for a secret trial where he was convicted of espionage and treason.
His revelations gave the world its first solid evidence of Israel's secret and sizable nuclear arsenal. Israel insists Vanunu still has more secrets he intends to reveal, and is therefore a danger to state security. But Vanunu told everything he knew to the Sunday Times over 18 years ago.
In July 2004, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected an appeal of the restrictions, and at a six-month review in October, the restrictions were renewed. The next review will occur on the first anniversary of his release from prison. On November 11, thirty armed police stormed St. George 's Anglican Cathedral in East Jerusalem and rearrested Vanunu (he was given sanctuary at the Cathedral after his release and has been living there since). They seized his laptop computers and cell phone, and questioned him about interviews he 'd given to foreign press, before releasing him that evening to seven days of house arrest.
When Vanunu was released from custody, he told the press, "They cannot punish me for the same crime, twice, three times. How many times [do] they want to punish me??"
Mordechai Vanunu wants to leave Israel and rebuild his life. The U.S. Campaign is working with the international campaigns and Mordechai's supporters in other countries, and with anti-nuclear and human rights groups worldwide for an immediate lifting of the restrictions and Vanunu's full freedom.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Make sure Israel knows that the whole world is watching.
*Write to these officials, urging them to lift Vanunu 's restrictions and let him leave Israel immediately.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
Ambassador of Israel
* Write a note of support to Mordechai Vanunu, c/o Cathedral Church of St. George, 20 Nablus Road, PO Box 19122, Jerusalem 91191, Israel, or email email@example.com
* Nominate Vanunu for honors, awards and honorary doctorates. He 's been repeatedly nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, received the Lennon-Ono Peace Grant in October, and while imprisoned was honored with the Right Livelihood Award, Nuclear Free Future Award, and received an honorary doctorate from Tromso University in Norway, among many other honors.
* Visit the campaign website at www.vanunu.com, sign the online petition, and encourage others to do so. You can also receive email updates and alerts by sending a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org and following the confirmation instructions that will be emailed back to you.
* Make a donation to the campaign. We need to continue our efforts until Mordechai Vanunu is truly free, and financial support is crucial. After he is allowed to leave Israel, the remainder of campaign funds will be given to him to help him rebuild his life. So please give as generously as you can!
* Make a donation now to help Vanunu rebuild his life. He was locked away from the world for almost 18 years - a very large price to pay for his courageous act of whistleblowing. There is much that Vanunu needs as he readjusts to life outside of prison, and he will be very grateful for our support.
Checks and money orders made payable to the U.S. Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu should be mailed to the address below. Please indicate on the check's memo line if this donation is meant for campaign expenses ("for campaign ") or the Mordechai Vanunu post-release account ("for Mordechai"). You can also donate by credit card or direct withdrawal online via Pay-pal 's secure service at our website.