KNESSET CONSTITUTION, LAW AND JUDICIARY COMMITTEE ASKED TO DEBATE
International figures will come to Israel to address Knesset Committee, call for whistleblower's freedom
The International Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu
Knesset Member Issam Makhoul (Hadash) has requested a special convention of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Judiciary Committee to discuss the restrictions that were imposed on nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu upon his release from prison almost one year ago and that keep him a hostage in Israel.
A panel of local and international human rights experts are preparing to address the parliamentary committee and call for lifting all restrictions against Vanunu. The panel includes Attorney Dan Yakir, chief legal counsel of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel; Dan Ellsberg (U.S.A.), the former Pentagon employee who in 1971 leaked the Pentagon Papers; Attorney Jennifer Harbury (U.S.A.), author and Director of the U.U.S.C. STOP Torture Campaign; and Attorney Fredrik S. Heffermehl (Norway), an expert on international law, author and Vice President of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms. The date of the Knesset Committee meeting will be announced separately.
On April 21, 2004, Mordechai Vanunu was released from Ashkelon Prison after serving his full sentence of 18 years, of which he spent more than eleven years in solitary confinement. However, Vanunu was not released to freedom, but into a system of restrictions that prevent him from rebuilding his life and severely curtail his civil and human rights. The restrictions prohibit Vanunu from traveling abroad, or even changing his city of residence without permission from security authorities; he is prohibited from contacting foreign citizens and media and his ability to communicate with friends and supporters is strictly limited.
In November 2004, Vanunu was arrested in a massive police raid on St. George's Guest House in East Jerusalem, where he has been receiving sanctuary, his computers and phones were confiscated and personal documents were seized. Vanunu was released after being questioned on the suspicion of violating the restrictions by giving interviews to foreign media. On Christmas Eve, 2004, Vanunu was arrested on his way to Bethlehem to celebrate Mass.
The restrictions that were imposed on Vanunu are based on the 1945 State of Emergency Regulations, first introduced in Mandatory Palestine by the British Mandate and since then they have been continually renewed by the Israeli parliament (Knesset). The State of Emergency Regulations enable the State to penalize people without trial, and can be renewed indefinitely. In July 2004 Israel's Supreme Court rejected Vanunu's appeal against the restrictions and the use of the Emergency Regulations.
The International Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu urges the Knesset Constitution, Law and Judiciary Committee to review the restrictions that keep Mordechai Vanunu a hostage in a country where he is constantly threatened and unable to rebuild his life, and which continue to punish him indefinitely, although he has completed the full sentence that was imposed by the Court in 1987. The Campaign calls on Israel to end Vanunu's continued maltreatment and to uphold the values of human rights.
In April 2005, one year after Vanunu's release from prison, an international delegation organized by the International Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu will come to Israel to call for lifting the restrictions and allowing Mordechai Vanunu to leave Israel, as he wishes.
In Israel: Rayna Moss: Tel. 972-50 -7368236
In the USA: Felice Cohen-Joppa, Tel/Fax 520-323-8697
In Britain: Ernest Rodker, Tel. +44-20-8672-9698
In Norway: Fredrik Heffermehl