Mordechai Vanunu

Mordechai Vanunu

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Mordechai Vanunu; (born 14 October 1954) is a former Israeli nuclear
Nuclear weapon
A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...

 technician who, citing his opposition to weapons of mass destruction
Weapons of mass destruction
A weapon of mass destruction is a weapon that can kill and bring significant harm to a large number of humans and/or cause great damage to man-made structures , natural structures , or the biosphere in general...

, revealed details of Israel's nuclear weapons program
Nuclear weapons and Israel
Israel is widely believed to be the sixth country in the world to have developed nuclear weapons and to be one of four nuclear-armed countries not recognized as a Nuclear Weapons State by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty , the others being India, Pakistan and North Korea...

 to the British press
History of British newspapers
During the 17th century, there were many kinds of publications, that told both news and rumours. Among these were pamphlets, posters, ballads etc. Even when the news periodicals emerged, many of these co-existed with them. A news periodical differs from these mainly because of its periodicity...

 in 1986. He was subsequently lured to Italy by a Mossad
Mossad
The Mossad , short for HaMossad leModi'in uleTafkidim Meyuchadim , is the national intelligence agency of Israel....

 agent, where he was drugged and kidnapped by Israeli intelligence agents. He was transported to Israel and ultimately convicted in a trial that was held behind closed doors.

Vanunu spent 18 years in prison, including more than 11 in solitary confinement. Released from prison in 2004, he became subject to a broad array of restrictions on his speech and movement. Since then he has been arrested several times for violations of those restrictions, including giving various interviews to foreign journalists and attempting to leave Israel. He says he suffered "cruel and barbaric treatment" at the hands of Israeli authorities while imprisoned, and suggests that his treatment would have been different if he were Jewish (Vanunu is a Christian convert from Judaism).

In 2007, Vanunu was sentenced to six months in prison for violating terms of his parole. The sentence was considered unusual even by the prosecution who expected a suspended sentence. In response, Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

 issued a press release on 2 July 2007, stating that "The organisation considers Mordechai Vanunu to be a prisoner of conscience and calls for his immediate and unconditional release." In May 2010, Vanunu was arrested and sentenced to three months in jail on suspicion that he met foreigners in violation of conditions of his 2004 release from jail.

Vanunu has been characterized internationally as a whistleblower and by Israel as a traitor. Daniel Ellsberg
Daniel Ellsberg
Daniel Ellsberg, PhD, is a former United States military analyst who, while employed by the RAND Corporation, precipitated a national political controversy in 1971 when he released the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret Pentagon study of U.S. government decision-making in relation to the Vietnam War,...

 has referred to him as "the preeminent hero of the nuclear era". In 2010, the British artist Richard Hamilton
Richard Hamilton (artist)
Richard William Hamilton, CH was a British painter and collage artist. His 1956 collage, Just what is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing?, produced for the This Is Tomorrow exhibition of the Independent Group in London, is considered by critics and historians to be one of the...

 completed a painting based on the famous press photograph of Vanunu in transit after his kidnapping, with the information concerning his capture in Rome scrawled on his hand for the press outside.

Early and educational life


Vanunu was born in Marrakech, Morocco, to a Sephardi
Sephardi Jews
Sephardi Jews is a general term referring to the descendants of the Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula before their expulsion in the Spanish Inquisition. It can also refer to those who use a Sephardic style of liturgy or would otherwise define themselves in terms of the Jewish customs and...

 Jewish family; his father was a rabbi. In 1963, Vanunu's family emigrated to Israel under the Law of Return
Law of Return
The Law of Return is Israeli legislation, passed on 5 July 1950, that gives Jews the right of return and settlement in Israel and gain citizenship...

, fleeing widespread antisemitism in Morocco. Vanunu was nine years old at the time, and had four brothers and sisters. His parents had six more children in Israel. The family settled in Beersheba
Beersheba
Beersheba is the largest city in the Negev desert of southern Israel. Often referred to as the "Capital of the Negev", it is the seventh-largest city in Israel with a population of 194,300....

, where Vanunu studied in an Ultra-Orthodox
Haredi Judaism
Haredi or Charedi/Chareidi Judaism is the most conservative form of Orthodox Judaism, often referred to as ultra-Orthodox. A follower of Haredi Judaism is called a Haredi ....

 elementary school, and attended but did not finish a Bnei Akiva
Bnei Akiva
Bnei Akiva is the largest religious Zionist youth movement in the world, with over 125,000 members in 37 countries. It was established in Mandate Palestine in 1929.-History:...

 yeshiva
Yeshiva
Yeshiva is a Jewish educational institution that focuses on the study of traditional religious texts, primarily the Talmud and Torah study. Study is usually done through daily shiurim and in study pairs called chavrutas...

 high school. Vanunu was conscripted into the Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

 in 1971, where he served as a sapper
Sapper
A sapper, pioneer or combat engineer is a combatant soldier who performs a wide variety of combat engineering duties, typically including, but not limited to, bridge-building, laying or clearing minefields, demolitions, field defences, general construction and building, as well as road and airfield...

 in the Combat Engineering Corps with the rank of First Sergeant. Vanunu was stationed on the Golan Heights, and saw action during the 1973 Yom Kippur War
Yom Kippur War
The Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War or October War , also known as the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the Fourth Arab-Israeli War, was fought from October 6 to 25, 1973, between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria...

. Vanunu was honorably discharged in 1974, and began studying physics at Tel Aviv University
Tel Aviv University
Tel Aviv University is a public university located in Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel. With nearly 30,000 students, TAU is Israel's largest university.-History:...

. After failing two exams at the end of his first year, he left the university.

Negev Nuclear Research Center



In the summer of 1976, Vanunu applied for a job Negev Nuclear Research Center
Negev Nuclear Research Center
The Negev Nuclear Research Center is an Israeli nuclear installation located in the Negev desert, about thirteen kilometers to the south-east of the city of Dimona. The purpose of Dimona is widely assumed to be the manufacturing of nuclear weapons, and the majority of defense experts have...

, an Israeli facility used to develop and manufacture nuclear weapons, located in the Negev Desert
Negev
The Negev is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The Arabs, including the native Bedouin population of the region, refer to the desert as al-Naqab. The origin of the word Neghebh is from the Hebrew root denoting 'dry'...

 south of Dimona
Dimona
Dimona is an Israeli city in the Negev desert, to the south of Beersheba and west of the Dead Sea above the Arava valley in the Southern District of Israel. Its population at the end of 2007 was 33,600.-History:...

. Most worldwide intelligence agencies estimate that Israel developed nuclear weapons as early as the 1960s, but the country has intentionally maintained a "policy of deliberate ambiguity
Nuclear ambiguity
Nuclear ambiguity can mean:*neither confirming nor denying possession of nuclear weapons, see Nuclear weapons and Israel*problem that launching an attack with a conventional weapon can be mistaken for a nuclear attack, see Prompt Global Strike...

", neither acknowledging nor denying that it possesses nuclear weapons. Vanunu was responding to an advertisement for trainee technicians to work at the facility. After a lengthy interview with the facility's security officer, he was accepted for training, and was put through an intensive course in physics, chemistry, mathematics, and English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

. He did sufficiently well to be accepted, and was employed as a nuclear plant technician and shift manager in February 1977.

In 1979, he became a part-time geography and philosophy student at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev   is a university in Beersheba, Israel, established in 1969. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has a current enrollment of 17,400 students, and is one of Israel's fastest growing universities....

 in Beersheba
Beersheba
Beersheba is the largest city in the Negev desert of southern Israel. Often referred to as the "Capital of the Negev", it is the seventh-largest city in Israel with a population of 194,300....

. At that time he became critical of many policies of the Israeli government, forming a group called "Campus" with five Arab and four Jewish students. Vanunu was also affiliated with a group called "Movement for the Advancement of Peace". He opposed the 1982 Lebanon War
1982 Lebanon War
The 1982 Lebanon War , , called Operation Peace for Galilee by Israel, and later known in Israel as the Lebanon War and First Lebanon War, began on 6 June 1982, when the Israel Defense Forces invaded southern Lebanon...

, and campaigned for equal rights for Israeli-Arabs
Arab citizens of Israel
Arab citizens of Israel refers to citizens of Israel who are not Jewish, and whose cultural and linguistic heritage or ethnic identity is Arab....

. In his security file at the Negev Nuclear Research Center, it was noted that he had displayed "left-wing and pro-Arab beliefs". Vanunu graduated from Ben-Gurion University in 1985 with a BA in philosophy and geography.

In early 1985, Vanunu lost his job following a mass layoff of workers due to government cutbacks, but his labor union
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

 won him his job back. After getting his job back, Vanunu smuggled a camera into the facility and secretly took 57 photographs. He was subsequently fired after he participated in a pro-Arab rally and called for the creation of a Palestinian state.

Disclosure, abduction and publication



In late 1985, Vanunu took a backpacking trip through the Far East
Far East
The Far East is an English term mostly describing East Asia and Southeast Asia, with South Asia sometimes also included for economic and cultural reasons.The term came into use in European geopolitical discourse in the 19th century,...

, eventually settling in Australia and becoming a taxi driver in Sydney. He renounced Judaism and converted to Christianity, joining the Anglican Church of Australia
Anglican Church of Australia
The Anglican Church of Australia is a member church of the Anglican Communion. It was previously officially known as the Church of England in Australia and Tasmania...

. In June 1985, he met Oscar Guerrero, a freelance journalist from Colombia. Guerrero persuaded Vanunu to sell his story, claiming that his story and photographs were worth up to $1 million. After failing to interest Newsweek
Newsweek
Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine published in New York City. It is distributed throughout the United States and internationally. It is the second-largest news weekly magazine in the U.S., having trailed Time in circulation and advertising revenue for most of its existence...

, Guerrero approached the British Sunday Times
The Sunday Times (UK)
The Sunday Times is a Sunday broadsheet newspaper, distributed in the United Kingdom. The Sunday Times is published by Times Newspapers Ltd, a subsidiary of News International, which is in turn owned by News Corporation. Times Newspapers also owns The Times, but the two papers were founded...

, and within a few days, Vanunu was interviewed by Sunday Times journalist Peter Hounam
Peter Hounam
Peter Hounam is a British journalist who has worked for Sunday Times, The Mirror, the London Evening Standard, and BBC Television, as well as having published several books:...

. In early September 1986, Vanunu flew to London with Hounam, and in violation of his non-disclosure agreement, revealed to the Sunday Times his knowledge of the Israeli nuclear programme, including photographs he had secretly taken at the Dimona site.

The Sunday Times was wary of being duped after having previously been embarrassed by the Hitler Diaries
Hitler Diaries
In April 1983, the West German news magazine Stern published excerpts from what purported to be the diaries of Adolf Hitler, known as the Hitler Diaries , which were subsequently revealed to be forgeries...

 hoax. As a result, the newspaper insisted on verifying Vanunu's story with leading nuclear weapon experts, including former U.S. nuclear weapons designer Theodore Taylor and former British AWE
Atomic Weapons Establishment
The Atomic Weapons Establishment is responsible for the design, manufacture and support of warheads for the United Kingdom's nuclear deterrent. AWE plc is responsible for the day-to-day operations of AWE...

 engineer Frank Barnaby
Frank Barnaby
Frank Charles Barnaby is Nuclear Issues Consultant to the Oxford Research Group, a freelance defence analyst, and a prolific author on military technology, based in the UK....

, who agreed that Vanunu's story was factual and correct. Vanunu gave detailed descriptions of lithium-6 separation required for the production of tritium
Tritium
Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. The nucleus of tritium contains one proton and two neutrons, whereas the nucleus of protium contains one proton and no neutrons...

, an essential ingredient of fusion-boosted fission bombs. While both experts concluded that Israel might be making such single-stage boosted bombs, Vanunu, whose work experience was limited to material (not component) production, gave no specific evidence that Israel was making two-stage thermonuclear bombs, such as neutron
Neutron bomb
A neutron bomb or enhanced radiation weapon or weapon of reinforced radiation is a type of thermonuclear weapon designed specifically to release a large portion of its energy as energetic neutron radiation rather than explosive energy...

 bombs. Vanunu described the plutonium
Plutonium
Plutonium is a transuranic radioactive chemical element with the chemical symbol Pu and atomic number 94. It is an actinide metal of silvery-gray appearance that tarnishes when exposed to air, forming a dull coating when oxidized. The element normally exhibits six allotropes and four oxidation...

 processing used, giving a production rate of about 30 kg per year, and stated that Israel used about 4 kg per weapon. From this information it was possible to estimate that Israel had sufficient plutonium for about 150 nuclear weapons.

Vanunu states in his letters that he intended to share the money received from the newspaper (for the information) with the Anglican Church of Australia
Anglican Church of Australia
The Anglican Church of Australia is a member church of the Anglican Communion. It was previously officially known as the Church of England in Australia and Tasmania...

. Apparently, frustrated by the delay while Hounam was completing his research, Vanunu approached a rival newspaper, the tabloid Sunday Mirror
The Daily Mirror
The Daily Mirror is a British national daily tabloid newspaper which was founded in 1903. Twice in its history, from 1985 to 1987, and from 1997 to 2002, the title on its masthead was changed to read simply The Mirror, which is how the paper is often referred to in popular parlance. It had an...

, whose owner was Robert Maxwell
Robert Maxwell
Ian Robert Maxwell MC was a Czechoslovakian-born British media proprietor and former Member of Parliament , who rose from poverty to build an extensive publishing empire...

. In 1991, a self-described former Mossad
Mossad
The Mossad , short for HaMossad leModi'in uleTafkidim Meyuchadim , is the national intelligence agency of Israel....

 officer or government translator named Ari Ben-Menashe
Ari Ben-Menashe
Ari Ben-Menashe is the author of Profits of War: Inside the Secret U.S.-Israeli Arms Network, a book purporting to describe his involvement in Iran-Contra and other intelligence operations. An Iraqi Jew who was educated in Israel, he is a former Israeli government employee, and has said that he...

 alleged that Maxwell had tipped off the Mossad, possibly through British secret services, about Vanunu. It is also possible that they were alerted by enquiries made to Israelis or to the Israeli Embassy in London by Sunday Mirror journalists.

The Israeli government decided to capture Vanunu, but determined to avoid harming its good relationship with Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

 Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...

, and not wanting risk confrontation with British intelligence, determined Vanunu should be persuaded to leave British territory under his own volition. Through constant surveillance, the Mossad found that Vanunu had become lonely and eager for female companionship. Masquerading as an American tourist called "Cindy", Israeli Mossad agent Cheryl Bentov
Cheryl Bentov
Cheryl Ben Tov , born Cheryl Hanin in 1960, is an American real estate agent and former Israeli Mossad agent who became well-known in 1986 when, under the name "Cindy", she persuaded former Israeli nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu to go with her to Rome, where he was captured, drugged, and...

 befriended Vanunu, and on 30 September persuaded him to fly to Rome with her on a holiday. This relation has been perceived as a classic honey trap operation whereby an intelligence agent employs seduction to gain the target's trust—a practice which has been officially sanctioned in Israel. On the day Bentov met Vanunu, the Israeli Navy electronic surveillance ship INS Noga was ordered to the Italian coast. The Noga, disguised as a merchant ship, was fitted with electronic surveillance equipment and satellite communications gear in its superstructure, and was primarily used to intercept communications traffic in Arab ports. As the ship was heading from Antalya
Antalya
Antalya is a city on the Mediterranean coast of southwestern Turkey. With a population 1,001,318 as of 2010. It is the eighth most populous city in Turkey and country's biggest international sea resort.- History :...

 in Turkey back to Haifa, the captain was instructed to change course for Italy and anchor off the coast in an encrypted message. The Noga arrived off the Italian port city of La Spezia
La Spezia
La Spezia , at the head of the Gulf of La Spezia in the Liguria region of northern Italy, is the capital city of the province of La Spezia. Located between Genoa and Pisa on the Ligurian Sea, it is one of the main Italian military and commercial harbours and hosts one of Italy's biggest military...

 and anchored in international waters, just outside Italian waters.

Once in Rome, the Vanunu and Bentov took a taxi to an apartment in the old quarter of the city, where three waiting Mossad operatives overpowered Vanunu and injected him with a paralyzing drug. Later that night, a white van hired by the Israeli embassy arrived, and Vanunu was carried to it on a stretcher. The ambulance drove out of Rome, down the coast to a pre-arranged point. Vanunu was transferred to a waiting speedboat, which then rendezvoused with the waiting Noga anchored off the coast. Vanunu was brought onto the Noga in total secrecy. The crew were told to assemble in the ship's common room and lock the door as Vanunu and the Mossad agents were taken aboard. The ship then set sail for Israel. During the journey, Vanunu was kept in a cabin, with Mossad agents taking turns guarding him. None of the Nogas crew were allowed to look at the prisoner. On 6 October, the ship anchored off the coast of Israel between Tel Aviv and Haifa, where it was met by a smaller vessel which Vanunu was transferred to. The vessel then took Vanunu to Israel.

On 5 October, the Sunday Times published the information it had revealed, and estimated that Israel had produced more than 100 nuclear warheads.

In July 2004 Vanunu claimed in the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper that the State of Israel was complicit in the assassination of John F. Kennedy
Assassination of John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the thirty-fifth President of the United States, was assassinated at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time on Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas...

. He claimed there were "near-certain indications" that Kennedy was assassinated in response to "pressure he exerted on Israel’s then head of government, David Ben-Gurion
David Ben-Gurion
' was the first Prime Minister of Israel.Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946...

, to shed light on Dimona’s nuclear reactor".

Imprisonment



Vanunu was put on trial in Israel on charges of treason and espionage. The trial, held in secret, took place in the Jerusalem District Court before Chief Justice Eliahu Noam and Judges Zvi Tal and Shalom Brener. Vanunu was represented by Avigdor Feldman
Avigdor Feldman
Avigdor Feldman , is an influential civil and human rights lawyer in Israel.Feldman is respected by both Palestinians and Israelis for his work as leading advocate for justice. He has appeared before the bench in many of the significant petitions presented to the Israeli High Court of Justice ...

, an Israeli civil and human rights lawyer. He was not permitted contact with the media but he wrote the details of his abduction (or "hijacking", as he put it) on the palm of his hand, and while being transported he held his hand against the van's window so that waiting journalists could get the information.

On 27 February 1988, the court sentenced him to eighteen years of imprisonment from the date of his capture. The Israeli government refused to release the transcript of the court case until, after the threat of legal action, it agreed to let censored extracts be published in Yedioth Ahronoth
Yedioth Ahronoth
Yedioth Ahronoth is a daily newspaper published in Tel Aviv, Israel. Since the 1970s, it has been the most widely circulated paper in Israel. In a TGI survey comparing the last half of 2009 with the same period in 2008, Yedioth Ahronoth retained the title of most widely read newspaper in Israel...

, an Israeli newspaper, in late 1999.

The death penalty
Capital punishment
Capital punishment, the death penalty, or execution is the sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for an offence. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates from the Latin capitalis, literally...

 in Israel is restricted to special circumstances. In 2004, former Mossad director Shabtai Shavit
Shabtai Shavit
Shabtai Shavit was the Director General of the Mossad from 1989 to 1996.Shavit first joined the Israel Defense Forces, where he served in the Sayeret Matkal and from 1958 to 1959 he was the Military Governor of the Southern Command...

 told Reuters
Reuters
Reuters is a news agency headquartered in New York City. Until 2008 the Reuters news agency formed part of a British independent company, Reuters Group plc, which was also a provider of financial market data...

 that the option of extrajudicial execution was considered in 1986, but rejected because "Jews don't do that to other Jews."

Vanunu served his eighteen-year sentence at Shikma Prison in Ashkelon
Ashkelon
Ashkelon is a coastal city in the South District of Israel on the Mediterranean coast, south of Tel Aviv, and north of the border with the Gaza Strip. The ancient seaport of Ashkelon dates back to the Neolithic Age...

. He spent more than eleven years of his sentence in solitary confinement
Solitary confinement
Solitary confinement is a special form of imprisonment in which a prisoner is isolated from any human contact, though often with the exception of members of prison staff. It is sometimes employed as a form of punishment beyond incarceration for a prisoner, and has been cited as an additional...

, allegedly out of concern that he might reveal more Israeli nuclear secrets and because he was still bound by the contract that swore him to secrecy on the subject. While in prison, Vanunu took part in small acts of rebellion, such as refusing psychiatric treatment, refusing to talk with the guards, reading only English-language newspapers, and watching only BBC television
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

. "He is the most stubborn, principled, and tough person I have ever met," said his lawyer, Avigdor Feldman.

In 1998, Vanunu appealed to the Supreme Court for his Israeli citizenship to be revoked. The Interior Minister denied Vanunu's request on grounds that he did not have another citizenship.

Many critics argue that Vanunu had no additional information that would pose a real security threat to Israel, and that the Israeli government's real motivation is a desire to avoid political embarrassment and financial complications for itself and allies such as the United States. By not acknowledging possession of nuclear weapons, Israel avoids a US legal prohibition on funding countries which proliferate weapons of mass destruction
Weapons of mass destruction
A weapon of mass destruction is a weapon that can kill and bring significant harm to a large number of humans and/or cause great damage to man-made structures , natural structures , or the biosphere in general...

. Such an admission would prevent Israel from receiving over $3 billion each year in military and other aid from Washington
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

.

Ray Kidder
Ray Kidder
Ray Kidder is an American physicist and nuclear weapons designer. He is best known for his outspoken views on nuclear weapons policy issues, including nuclear testing, stockpile management, and arms control....

, then a senior American nuclear scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory , just outside Livermore, California, is a Federally Funded Research and Development Center founded by the University of California in 1952...

, has said:
His last appeal against his conviction, to the Supreme Court of Israel
Supreme Court of Israel
The Supreme Court is at the head of the court system and highest judicial instance in Israel. The Supreme Court sits in Jerusalem.The area of its jurisdiction is all of Israel and the Israeli-occupied territories. A ruling of the Supreme Court is binding upon every court, other than the Supreme...

 in 1990, failed.

Release, liberties restrictions and asylum applications


Vanunu was released from prison on 21 April 2004. Surrounded by dozens of journalists and flanked by two of his brothers, he held an impromptu press conference, but refused to answer questions in Hebrew because of the suffering he said he sustained at the hands of the State of Israel. Vanunu said Israel's Mossad spy agency and the Shin Bet security services tried to rob him of his sanity
Sanity
Sanity refers to the soundness, rationality and healthiness of the human mind, as opposed to insanity. A person is sane if they are rational...

 by keeping him in solitary confinement. "You didn't succeed to break me, you didn't succeed to make me crazy," he said. Vanunu also called for Israel's nuclear disarmament, and for its dismantlement as a Jewish state. Around 200 supporters and a smaller number of counter-demonstrators attended the conference. He indicated a desire to completely dissociate himself from Israel, initially refusing to speak in Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

, and planning to move to Europe or the United States as soon as the Israeli government would permit him to do so. Shortly before his scheduled release, Vanunu remained defiant under interrogation by the security service, Shin Bet. In recordings of the interview made public after his release, he is heard saying "I am neither a traitor nor a spy, I only wanted the world to know what was happening." He also said, "We don't need a Jewish state
Jewish state
A homeland for the Jewish people was an idea that rose to the fore in the 19th century in the wake of growing anti-Semitism and Jewish assimilation. Jewish emancipation in Europe paved the way for two ideological solutions to the Jewish Question: cultural assimilation, as envisaged by Moses...

. There needs to be a Palestinian state. Jews can, and have lived anywhere, so a Jewish State is not necessary." "Vanunu is a difficult and complex person. He remains stubbornly, admirably uncompromisingly true to his principles, is willing to pay the price", said Ha'aretz newspaper in 2008.

A number of prohibitions were placed upon Vanunu after his release from jail and are still in force, in particular:
  • he shall not be able to have contacts with citizens of other countries but Israel
  • he shall not use phones
  • he shall not own cellullar phones
  • he shall not have access to the Internet
  • he shall not approach or enter embassies and consulates
  • he shall not come within 500 metres of any international border crossing
  • he shall not visit any port of entry and airport
  • he shall not leave the State of Israel


Israeli authorities state that their reason of these forbiddances and liberties restrictions is fear of his spreading further state secrets and that he is still bound by his non-disclosure agreement. These stipulate that he must inform the authorities in advance about his place of residence, his movements between cities, and whom he intends to meet. While a court found in 2005 that he should be free to go to the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

 and West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

, a year later further restrictions explicitly forbade him to visit either, reversing the court's initial decision.

Vanunu says that his knowledge is now outdated and he has nothing more he could possibly reveal that is not already widely known. Despite the stated restrictions Vanunu has given interviews to the foreign press since his release, including a live phone interview to BBC Radio Scotland
BBC Radio Scotland
BBC Radio Scotland is BBC Scotland's national English-language radio network. It broadcasts a wide variety of programming, including news, sport, light entertainment, music, the arts, comedy, drama, history and lifestyle...

.

On 22 April 2004, Vanunu asked the government of Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 for a Norwegian passport
Norwegian passport
Norwegian Passports are issued to nationals of Norway for the purpose of international travel. The passport may also serve as proof of Norwegian citizenship and are valid for ten years. The passport shares the standardized layout of most EU countries, and the colour is burgundy-red. The colour is...

 and asylum
Refugee
A refugee is a person who outside her country of origin or habitual residence because she has suffered persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or because she is a member of a persecuted 'social group'. Such a person may be referred to as an 'asylum seeker' until...

 in Norway for "humanitarian reasons," according to Norwegian media. He also sent applications to other countries, and stated that he would accept asylum in any country because he fears for his life. Former conservative Norwegian Prime Minister Kåre Willoch
Kåre Willoch
Kåre Isaachsen Willoch is a Norwegian politician from the Conservative Party. He served as Minister of Trade and Shipping in 1963 and 1965–1970, and as Prime Minister of Norway from 1981 to 1986...

 asked the conservative government to give Vanunu asylum, and the University of Tromsø
University of Tromsø
The University of Tromsø is the world's northernmost university. Located in the city of Tromsø, Norway, it was established in 1968, and opened in 1972. It is one of eight universities in Norway. The University of Tromsø is the largest research and educational institution in northern Norway...

 offered him a job. On 9 April 2008, it was revealed that Vanunu's request for asylum in Norway was rejected in 2004 by Erna Solberg
Erna Solberg
Erna Solberg is a Norwegian politician, and current leader of the Conservative Party of Norway. She was the Municipal and Regional Minister in Kjell Magne Bondevik's second government, 19 October 2001 until 17 October 2005. In 2005, she was appointed a Commander of the Order of St. Olav.-Early...

, Minister of Local Government in the liberal coalition government led by then Norwegian Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Norway
The Prime Minister of Norway is the political leader of Norway and the Head of His Majesty's Government. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Stortinget , to their political party, and ultimately the...

 Kjell Magne Bondevik
Kjell Magne Bondevik
Kjell Magne Bondevik is a Norwegian Lutheran minister and politician . He served as Prime Minister of Norway from 1997 to 2000, and from 2001 to 2005, making him Norway's longest serving non-Labour Party Prime Minister since World War II...

. While the Norwegian foreigner directorate (State Department) (UDI) had been prepared to grant Vanunu asylum, it was suddenly decided that the application could not be accepted because Vanunu had applied for it from outside of the borders of Norway. An unclassified document revealed that Solberg and the government considered that extracting Vanunu from Israel might be seen as an action against Israel and thereby unfitting the Norwegian government's tradition role as a friend of Israel and as a political player in the Middle East. Since the information has been revealed, Solberg has rejected criticism and defended her decision.

Vanunu's application for asylum in Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 has also been rejected on the grounds that Sweden, like Norway does not accept absentee asylum applications. He also unsuccessfully requested asylum in Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

, which would require him to first be allowed to leave Israel. He has not applied for asylum in his native Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

.

In 2006, Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

's British branch chief, Keith Allen, wrote that Microsoft
Microsoft
Microsoft Corporation is an American public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions...

 handed over the details of Vanunu's Hotmail
Hotmail
Windows Live Hotmail, formerly known as MSN Hotmail and commonly referred to simply as Hotmail, is a free web-based email service operated by Microsoft as part of its Windows Live group. It was founded by Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith and launched in July 1996 as "HoTMaiL". It was one of the first...

 email account by alluding that he was being investigated for espionage. This happened before a court order had been obtained.

International calls for his freedom of movement and freedom of speech made by organizations supporting Vanunu have been either ignored or rejected by Israel.

On 15 May 2008, the "Norwegian Lawyer's Petition for Vanunu" was released, signed by 24 Norwegian attorneys. It calls on the Norwegian government to urgently implement a three-point action plan "within the framework of international and Norwegian law" and allow Vanunu to travel to, live and work in Norway.

On 11 October 2010, Vanunu's appeal to rescind the restrictions and allow him to leave Israel and speak to foreigners was denied by the Israeli Supreme Court.

Arrests and hearings


Yossi Melman, an Israeli journalist, wrote in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz
Haaretz
Haaretz is Israel's oldest daily newspaper. It was founded in 1918 and is now published in both Hebrew and English in Berliner format. The English edition is published and sold together with the International Herald Tribune. Both Hebrew and English editions can be read on the Internet...

 "Vanunu's harassment by the Israeli government is unprecedented and represents a distortion of every accepted legal norm."
Vanunu was denied parole at a hearing in May 1998. Five years later, parole was again refused. At this parole hearing, Vanunu's lawyer Avigdor Feldman maintained that his client had no more secrets and should be freed. But the prosecution argued that the imminent war with Iraq
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

 would preclude his release. After the hearing, Feldman said, "The prosecutor said that if Vanunu were released, the Americans would probably leave Iraq and go after Israel and Israel's nuclear weapons - which I found extremely ridiculous." The real force blocking Vanunu's release, who had been known only as "Y", was exposed in 2001 as Yehiyel Horev, the head of Mossad
Mossad
The Mossad , short for HaMossad leModi'in uleTafkidim Meyuchadim , is the national intelligence agency of Israel....

's nuclear and military secrets branch. Following his release in 2004, Vanunu appeared in Israeli courts on numerous occasions on charges of having violated the terms of his release. He was arrested and detained for attempting to go to Bethlehem, on at least one occasion his room in St. George's Cathedral
St. George's Cathedral, Jerusalem
thumb|rightSt. George's Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral in Jerusalem, established in 1899. It is the seat of the Bishop of Jerusalem of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East....

 was raided by policemen and his belongings were confiscated.

Yehiel Horev, the strictest of all the security chiefs in Israel, especially in regard to the protection of institutions such as the Dimona facility and the Biological Institute, is apprehensive that if Vanunu goes abroad, he will continue to be a nuisance by stimulating the public debate over Israel's nuclear policy and the nuclear weapons he says Israel possesses. This is the secret that has not yet been told in the affair: the story of the security fiasco that made it possible for Vanunu to do what he did, and the story of subsequent attempts to cover-up, whitewash and protect senior figures in the defense establishment, who were bent on divesting themselves of responsibility for the failure.
  • On 11 November 2004, Vanunu was arrested by the International Investigations Unit of the Israel Police at around 9am while eating breakfast. The arrest stemmed from an ongoing probe examining suspicions of leaking national secrets and violating legal rulings since his release from prison. Police officers wearing bulletproof vests and carrying machine guns entered the walled compound of St. George's Anglican Cathedral
    St. George's Cathedral, Jerusalem
    thumb|rightSt. George's Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral in Jerusalem, established in 1899. It is the seat of the Bishop of Jerusalem of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East....

    , where Vanunu had been living since his released. Police removed papers and a computer from his room. After a few hours' detention, Vanunu was put under house arrest, which was to last seven days.
  • On 24 December 2004 in a vehicle marked as belonging to the foreign press, Vanunu was arrested by Israeli Police while he was attempting to enter the West Bank
    West Bank
    The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

     in violation of his release restrictions (see above), allegedly to attend mass at the Church of the Nativity
    Church of the Nativity
    The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem is one of the oldest continuously operating churches in the world. The structure is built over the cave that tradition marks as the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth, and thus it is considered sacred by Christians...

     in Bethlehem
    Bethlehem
    Bethlehem is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank of the Jordan River, near Israel and approximately south of Jerusalem, with a population of about 30,000 people. It is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate of the Palestinian National Authority and a hub of Palestinian culture and tourism...

    . After posting bail
    Bail
    Traditionally, bail is some form of property deposited or pledged to a court to persuade it to release a suspect from jail, on the understanding that the suspect will return for trial or forfeit the bail...

     of 50,000 NIS, he was released into five-day house arrest.
  • On 26 January 2005 the BBC reported that its Jerusalem deputy bureau chief, Simon Wilson, was banned from Israel after he refused to submit interview material made with Vanunu to Israeli censors. Vanunu gave the interview in violation of court orders. Wilson was allowed to return to Israel on 12 March 2005 after signing an apology letter acknowledging that he defied the law.
  • On 17 March 2005 Vanunu was charged with 21 counts of "contravening a lawful direction" (maximum penalty two years' imprisonment per count) and one count of "attempting to contravene a lawful direction."
  • On 18 November 2005 Vanunu was arrested at the al-Ram checkpoint north of Jerusalem as he was returning by bus from the West Bank. The Israeli authorities claimed Vanunu's travel ban includes visits to the Palestinian territories.
  • On 13 April 2007 Vanunu was informed that the Israeli government has continued his house arrest in Jerusalem and renewed all the restrictions against him, for the fourth time and third year of detention in east Jerusalem.
  • On 30 April 2007 Vanunu was convicted of violating the order barring foreign contacts and traveling outside Jerusalem.
  • In July 2007, Vanunu was sentenced to a further six months imprisonment for speaking to foreigners and traveling to Bethlehem
    Bethlehem
    Bethlehem is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank of the Jordan River, near Israel and approximately south of Jerusalem, with a population of about 30,000 people. It is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate of the Palestinian National Authority and a hub of Palestinian culture and tourism...

    . The court's sentence was unexpected, and even the prosecution expected the court to hand down a suspended sentence, meant solely as a deterrent. Following his sentence, Vanunu commented that his conviction proved that Israel was still ruled, in effect, by the British Mandate because the law under which he was convicted is from that era. "Maybe I need to turn to the Queen or to Tony Blair
    Tony Blair
    Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

     in order to grant me justice," he said.
  • While having dinner at the American Colony Hotel
    American Colony Hotel
    The American Colony Hotel is a luxury hotel located in a historic building in Jerusalem which previously housed the utopian American-Swedish community known as the American Colony.-History:...

     in East Jerusalem with a foreigner, Vanunu was arrested for the second time on a Christmas Eve.
  • On 7 January 2008, the day before his appeal against the above sentence was to begin, Vanunu was re-sentenced to six months of community service.
  • On 7 April 2008 Vanunu learned that Israel had renewed the restrictions against him for the fifth time. On 9 April 2008 it was reported that Norway had joined Sweden, Canada and Denmark in refusing asylum to Vanunu.
  • On 9 April 2008 unclassified documents revealed that the former Norwegian coalition government led by former Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik
    Kjell Magne Bondevik
    Kjell Magne Bondevik is a Norwegian Lutheran minister and politician . He served as Prime Minister of Norway from 1997 to 2000, and from 2001 to 2005, making him Norway's longest serving non-Labour Party Prime Minister since World War II...

     denied Vanunu asylum in 2004 as a supportive gesture to Israel.
  • On 13 May 2008 Vanunu wrote that although three judges attempted to convince the Government Lawyer to offer community service in East Jerusalem, it was denied. Vanunu's appeal against his six months jail sentence was set to resume on 8 July 2008
  • On 15 May 2008 the Norwegian Lawyer's Petition called upon the Norwegian government to urgently implement a three-point action plan within the framework of international and Norwegian law, to grant Vanunu asylum and permission to work and stay in Norway.
  • On 23 September 2008 the Jerusalem District Court announced: "In light of (Vanunu's) ailing health and the absence of claims that his actions put the country's security in jeopardy, we believe his sentence should be reduced." Vanunu said his health is fine and that, "The issue is about my right to be free, my right to speak and my right to leave the state."
  • In October 2008, Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond
    Alex Salmond
    Alexander Elliot Anderson "Alex" Salmond MSP is a Scottish politician and current First Minister of Scotland. He became Scotland's fourth First Minister in May 2007. He is the Leader of the Scottish National Party , having served as Member of the Scottish Parliament for Gordon...

     called for Vanunu's release, saying, "The Scottish Government is well aware of the campaign by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
    Palestine Solidarity Campaign
    The Palestine Solidarity Campaign is a campaign in the United Kingdom promoting solidarity with the Palestinian people. It was founded in 1982 during the build-up to Israel's invasion of Lebanon.The campaign states:...

     and supports the lifting of all restrictions imposed on Mr Mordechai Vanunu."
  • On 26 November 2008, "Vanunu's Supreme Court appeal fighting a three month jail sentence [reduced from six] for speaking to foreigners – who happened to be media – in 2004, is scheduled to be heard in the New Year."
  • On 14 June 2009, Vanunu stated, "The Central Commander of the General Army testified in court that it is OK if I speak in public as long as I do not talk about nuclear weapons... They renewed the restrictions to not speak to foreigners until November. The appeal [against three months in jail for speaking to foreign media in 2004] was scheduled for January, then May 6th and June 18th. Now I am waiting for a new court date."
  • On 6 July 2009, Vanunu's "attorney Avigdor Feldman
    Avigdor Feldman
    Avigdor Feldman , is an influential civil and human rights lawyer in Israel.Feldman is respected by both Palestinians and Israelis for his work as leading advocate for justice. He has appeared before the bench in many of the significant petitions presented to the Israeli High Court of Justice ...

    ...and the state agreed that after six months, pending a review of his conduct, Vanunu will be able to ask for the restrictions to be lifted and be allowed to travel abroad."
  • On 28 December 2009, Vanunu was arrested by Jerusalem Police in a hotel following an alleged meeting with his girlfriend.
  • On 29 December 2009, Russian media reported that a search of Vanunu’s belongings uncovered a letter from an American causing Israeli officials to be concerned that "he could be orchestrating something." On 1 January 2010, it was revealed that Vanunu has known his Norwegian girlfriend, Dr. Kristin Joachimsen, a scholar and an associate professor of Biblical Studies for two years.
  • On 7 January 2010, Vanunu published his video message to the Media regarding his most recent arrest and Israel's "impotent" nuclear ambiguity.
  • On 14 April 2010, Vanunu reported that the restrictions denying him the right to leave Israel were renewed for another year.
  • On 11 May 2010, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that Mordechai Vanunu, will “serve a three-month jail sentence handed to him by Jerusalem District Court and not community service” which will begin on May 23, 2010. Vanunu had been sentenced to community service, but had stated his refusal to perform community service in west Jerusalem, claiming that he would be in danger of being assaulted by a member of the Israeli public, but offered to do community service in east Jerusalem. The Court refused Vanunu’s offer. Eleven days earlier, Amnesty International
    Amnesty International
    Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

     had released a press release following the announcement of this sentence: "If Mordechai Vanunu is imprisoned again, Amnesty International will declare him to be a prisoner of conscience and call for his immediate and unconditional release."
  • On 24 May 2010, Vanunu began serving his three-month prison sentence. On June 18, it was reported that Vanunu had been placed in solitary confinement.
  • On 8 August 2010, Vanunu was released from prison.
  • On 14 July 2011, Vanunu appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court to instruct Interior Minister Eli Yishai
    Eli Yishai
    Eliyahu "Eli" Yishai is an Israeli politician and head of the Shas party. He currently serves as a member of the Knesset for Shas, and as both one of four Deputy Prime Ministers and Minister of Internal Affairs.- Political life :...

     to revoke his Israeli citizenship, claiming that "the Israeli street" and media were treating him belligerently, and that he could "no longer find his place in Israeli society", and that despite his release from prison, "the State of Israel continues to penalize him by imposing various restrictions on his person and travels". Vanunu's appeal noted an amendment to the Citizenship Act which allowed the Interior Minister to revoke his citizenship even if he did not hold another one, and claimed that revocation of his Israeli citizenship would allow him to seek citizenship or permanent residency in a European country.
  • On 31 August 2011, Vanunu wrote: "The court hearing about the restrictions, not to speak to foreigners, not to leave Israel will be on Oct' 3 [it is possible the date can be changed]. About canceling my Israel citizenship, we are waiting to hear from Interior minister or we will have one more court hearing."

Awards and honours


Vanunu wrote the poem "I’m Your Spy" early during the first eleven and a half years he was held in strict isolation.

Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

 described his treatment as constituting "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment [...] such as is prohibited by international law
International human rights instruments
International human rights instruments are treaties and other international documents relevant to international human rights law and the protection of human rights in general...

."

Vanunu received the Right Livelihood Award
Right Livelihood Award
The Right Livelihood Award, also referred to as the "Alternative Nobel Prize", is a prestigious international award to honour those "working on practical and exemplary solutions to the most urgent challenges facing the world today". The prize was established in 1980 by Jakob von Uexkull, and is...

 in 1987, and was given an honorary doctorate by the University of Tromsø
University of Tromsø
The University of Tromsø is the world's northernmost university. Located in the city of Tromsø, Norway, it was established in 1968, and opened in 1972. It is one of eight universities in Norway. The University of Tromsø is the largest research and educational institution in northern Norway...

 in 2001. He was nominated by Joseph Rotblat
Joseph Rotblat
Sir Joseph Rotblat, KCMG, CBE, FRS , was a Polish-born, British-naturalised physicist.His work on nuclear fallout was a major contribution to the agreement of the Partial Test Ban Treaty...

 for the Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...

 every year from 1988 to 2004.

In March 2009 Vanunu wrote to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee in Oslo:

I am asking the committee to remove my name from the list for this year’s list of nominations. I cannot be part of a list of laureates that includes Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres
GCMG is the ninth President of the State of Israel. Peres served twice as the eighth Prime Minister of Israel and once as Interim Prime Minister, and has been a member of 12 cabinets in a political career spanning over 66 years...

, the President of Israel
President of Israel
The President of the State of Israel is the head of state of Israel. The position is largely an apolitical ceremonial figurehead role, with the real executive power lying in the hands of the Prime Minister. The current president is Shimon Peres who took office on 15 July 2007...

. He is the man who was behind all the Israeli atomic policy. Peres established and developed the atomic weapon program in Dimona in Israel..Peres was the man who ordered the kidnapping
Kidnapping
In criminal law, kidnapping is the taking away or transportation of a person against that person's will, usually to hold the person in false imprisonment, a confinement without legal authority...

 of me in Italy Rome, Sept. 30, 1986, and for the secret trial and sentencing of me as a spy and traitor for 18 years in isolation
Solitary confinement
Solitary confinement is a special form of imprisonment in which a prisoner is isolated from any human contact, though often with the exception of members of prison staff. It is sometimes employed as a form of punishment beyond incarceration for a prisoner, and has been cited as an additional...

 in prison in Israel. Until now he continues to oppose my freedom and release, in spite of my serving full sentence 18 years. From all these reasons I don’t want be nominated and will not accept this nomination. I say No to any nomination as long as I am not free, that is, as long as I am still forced to be in Israel. .


In September 2004, artist and musician Yoko Ono
Yoko Ono
is a Japanese artist, musician, author and peace activist, known for her work in avant-garde art, music and filmmaking as well as her marriage to John Lennon...

 gave Mordechai Vanunu a peace prize founded in her late husband, John Lennon
John Lennon
John Winston Lennon, MBE was an English musician and singer-songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as one of the founding members of The Beatles, one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music...

's memory.

In December 2004, he was elected by the students of the University of Glasgow
University of Glasgow
The University of Glasgow is the fourth-oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland's four ancient universities. Located in Glasgow, the university was founded in 1451 and is presently one of seventeen British higher education institutions ranked amongst the top 100 of the...

 to serve for three years as Rector. On Friday 22 April 2005 he was formally installed in the post, but could not carry out any of its functions as he was still confined to Israel. The Herald
The Herald (Glasgow)
The Herald is a broadsheet newspaper published Monday to Saturday in Glasgow, and available throughout Scotland. As of August 2011 it had an audited circulation of 47,226, giving it a lead over Scotland's other 'quality' national daily, The Scotsman, published in Edinburgh.The 1889 to 1906 editions...

 newspaper launched a campaign for his release.

In 2005 he received the Peace Prize of the Norwegian People (Folkets fredspris). Previous recipients of this prize include Vytautas Landsbergis
Vytautas Landsbergis
Professor Vytautas Landsbergis is a Lithuanian conservative politician and Member of the European Parliament. He was the first head of state of Lithuania after its independence declaration from the Soviet Union, and served as the Head of the Lithuanian Parliament Seimas...

 (1991), Alva Myrdal
Alva Myrdal
Alva Myrdal was a Swedish sociologist and politician. She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1982. She married Gunnar Myrdal in 1924....

 (1982), Mairead Maguire and Betty Williams.

On 24 February 2010, Nobel Institute Director Geir Lundestad announced that for the second year in a row, Mordechai Vanunu declined the honor of being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Vanunu wrote, "What I want now, I need now, is freedom, passport, [not] awards."

On 21 September 2010, the Teach Peace Foundation recognized Mordechai Vanunu for his courageous actions to halt the development and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by the Israeli government.

On 4 October 2010, the International League for Human Rights announced that Mordechai Vanunu was awarded the Carl-von-Ossietzky-Medal for 2010.

On 16 November 2010, the International League for Human Rights
International League for Human Rights
The International League for Human Rights is a human rights organization with headquarters in New York City.Claiming to be the oldest human rights organization in the United States, the ILHR defines its mission as "defending human rights advocates who risk their lives to promote the ideals of a...

 released their letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak is an Israeli politician who served as Prime Minister from 1999 until 2001. He was leader of the Labor Party until January 2011 and holds the posts of Minister of Defense and Deputy Prime Minister in Binyamin Netanyahu's government....

 and Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai, seeking Mordechai Vanunu's free departure out of Israel to allow him to receive this years Carl-von-Ossietzky-Medal at the Award Ceremony in Berlin on 12 December 2010.

The 12 December 2010, Carl von Ossietzky Medal Ceremony in Berlin was renamed a protest and also for nuclear disarmament. On this occasion a music-composition for Vanunu was released and had the first performance. Pravda
Pravda
Pravda was a leading newspaper of the Soviet Union and an official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party between 1912 and 1991....

 reported that Nobel Laureate Mairead Corrigan-Maguire, called the enforced absence of Vanunu 'shameful' and that the International League of Human Rights never received a response from their letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defence Minister Barak and Interior Minister Yishai.

See also

  • List of whistleblowers
  • Nuclear-Free Future Award
    Nuclear-Free Future Award
    Since 1998 the Nuclear-Free Future Award is an award given to anti-nuclear activists, organizations and communities. The award is intended to promote the opposition to uranium mining, nuclear weapons and nuclear power....

  • Nuclear proliferation
    Nuclear proliferation
    Nuclear proliferation is a term now used to describe the spread of nuclear weapons, fissile material, and weapons-applicable nuclear technology and information, to nations which are not recognized as "Nuclear Weapon States" by the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, also known as the...

  • Nuclear weapons and Israel
    Nuclear weapons and Israel
    Israel is widely believed to be the sixth country in the world to have developed nuclear weapons and to be one of four nuclear-armed countries not recognized as a Nuclear Weapons State by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty , the others being India, Pakistan and North Korea...


Further reading

  • Black, Ian. Israel's Secret Wars: A History of Israel's Intelligence Services, Grove Press, 1992, ISBN 0-8021-3286-3
  • Cohen, Avner. Israel and the Bomb, New York: Columbia University Press (1999), ISBN 0-231-10483-9
  • Cohen, Yoel. The Whistleblower of Dimona: Israel, Dimona & the Bomb. ISBN 0-8419-1432-X
  • Fleming, Eileen. Memoirs of a Nice Irish American 'Girl's' Life in Occupied Territory. [2007], ISBN 1432702548.
  • Fleming, Eileen. "Beyond Nuclear: Mordechai Vanunu's Freedom of Speech
    Freedom of speech
    Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely without censorship. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used...

     Trial and My Life as a Muckraker". [2010], ISBN 978-0-615-40282-6.
  • Gaffney, Mark. Dimona: The Third Temple? The Story Behind the Vanunu Revelation. ISBN 0-915597-77-2
  • Gilling, Tom and John McKnight. Trial and Error — Mordechai Vanunu and Israel's Nuclear Bomb. 1991 Monarch Publications. ISBN 1-85424-129-X
  • Hounam, Peter
    Peter Hounam
    Peter Hounam is a British journalist who has worked for Sunday Times, The Mirror, the London Evening Standard, and BBC Television, as well as having published several books:...

    . The Woman from Mossad: The Torment of Mordechai Vanunu. ISBN 1-58394-005-7 paperback edition title: The Woman from Mossad: The Story of Mordechai Vanunu & the Israeli Nuclear Program
  • Toscano, Louis. Triple Cross. 1990 Birch Lane Press ISBN 1-55972-028-X
  • Spiro, Gideon. Vanunu and the Israeli Bomb.

External links


Documentaries