Friday, April 23, 2004
Why is this story getting so little play in the US? --
Mordechai Vanunu has been released from prison this week, the event receiving prime media coverage in Israel.
The nuclear technician, who also holds a degree in philosophy, was arrested after confirming his personal testimony of an Israeli nuclear arsenal in the Sunday Times. He was arrested by the Israeli secret service on Italian soil, secretly tried and spent 11 years in total isolation.
Mordechai Vanunu left prison on Apr. 21 after having his 18-year sentence reduced. He had been charged with “high treason and espionage”.
His release has come against the opinion of the country’s defense minister, who wanted his prison term extended indefinitely on grounds of “administrative detention”.
The public prosecutor’s office rejected his idea, saying it risked being declared unconstitutional. Notwithstanding, Vanunu is still subject to many restrictions, like not being to leave the country.
The prohibitions and threats of being arrested again have not stopped Vanunu from talking, as he has spoken freely with the media.
He explains that his charges of high treason and espionage were unjustified since he had not turned over nuclear arms secrets to foreign powers or enemies but simply to the public through statements he made in a famous British weekly magazine.
Vanunu says he did so for “moral reasons as a Christian and citizen”.