Judges Block Nuclear Whistleblower’s Bid to Leave Israel

Global Security Newswire Staff
Global Security Newswire Staff
June 18, 2014, 8:43 a.m.

Is­rael’s top court barred a nuc­le­ar whis­tleblower from leav­ing the coun­try over fears that he may leak more secrets, the Lon­don Guard­i­an re­ports.

The Is­raeli Su­preme Court rul­ing was in re­sponse to Mor­de­chai Vanunu’s bid to vis­it the United King­dom, where he had hoped to ad­dress Brit­ish politi­cians and a con­fer­ence or­gan­ized by Am­nesty In­ter­na­tion­al, the Guard­i­an re­por­ted on Tues­day.

Vanunu served nearly two dec­ades in pris­on for sup­ply­ing a Brit­ish news­pa­per with de­tails and im­ages of Is­rael’s Di­mona nuc­le­ar fa­cil­ity, where he had worked as a tech­ni­cian. He was freed in 2004, but sen­tenced in 2010 to three more months of jail time for break­ing re­stric­tions au­thor­it­ies had placed on his move­ments and com­mu­nic­a­tions.

The latest court de­cision af­firms an Is­raeli in­teri­or min­istry ar­gu­ment that per­mit­ting Vanunu to travel abroad would en­able him to di­vulge more de­tails on Is­rael’s nuc­le­ar cap­ab­il­it­ies, po­ten­tially harm­ing the coun­try and its popu­lace, ac­cord­ing to the Guard­i­an. Is­rael is be­lieved to hold the Middle East’s only nuc­le­ar ar­sen­al, but the coun­try has nev­er of­fi­cially con­firmed pos­sess­ing such weapons.

Vanunu’s law­yer de­nounced the court’s rul­ing in com­ments to Am­nesty In­ter­na­tion­al.

“Up­hold­ing these un­demo­crat­ic and ri­dicu­lous re­stric­tions, for the past 10 years, after Vanunu had served a pris­on sen­tence of 18 years, has noth­ing to do with the se­cur­ity of the state,” ac­cord­ing to Avig­dor Feld­man, the whis­tleblower’s de­fense at­tor­ney.

Feld­man ar­gued that the lim­it­a­tions “are vin­dict­ive and cruel steps which serve one pur­pose — to make an out­cast of Vanunu, and des­troy him as a hu­man be­ing and as a true anti-nuc­le­ar act­iv­ist.”

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