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A Special Prison Just For Mordechai Vanunu

A Special Prison Just For Mordechai Vanunu in Israel

International Condemnation As Lawyers Appeal "A Special Prison Just For Mordechai Vanunu."

Lawyers representing Mordechai Vanunu on Sunday appealed Israel's plan to bar the long-imprisoned nuclear whistleblower from travel within or outside of Israel, and from all contact with foreigners, when he is released from prison on Wednesday. Vanunu has spent nearly 18 years in prison, most of it in solitary confinement.

"This is just the continuation of his confinement with different conditions," said Oded Feller, of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI).

"Pentagon Papers" whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg declared from San Francisco, "The outrageous and illegal restrictions proposed to be inflicted on him when he finally steps out of prison should be widely protested and rejected, not only because they violate his fundamental human rights but because the world needs to hear this free man's voice."

The ACRI's Oded delivered Vanunu's appeal to Interior Minister Avraham Poraz and Home Front commander Major General Yair Naveh, who both signed the decree. If rejected, Vanunu's appeal will then be brought to Israel's High Court.

Mordechai Vanunu has served his full 18 year sentence. He has no more nuclear secrets to tell about Dimona, and he has promised never to name other workers he knew.

"For his loyalty to the public interest he has been excessively punished. To restrict his right of free movement and free speech upon his release would bring the treatment of Vanunu to new, unimaginable levels of illegality and cruelty." said Fredrik S. Heffermehl of Norway, Vice President of International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA).

The nearly 100 human rights and anti-nuclear activists from 14 countries in Israel to welcome the prisoner to freedom "will not be able to greet him face-to-face, shake his hand, embrace, or break bread with Vanunu without putting him at risk to be immediately arrested and returned to prison," said Rayna Moss of the Israeli Committee for Mordechai Vanunu and for a Middle East Free of Atomic, Biological and Chemical Weapons.

"This is a destructive decision for Mordechai" said Mary Eoloff of Minnesota. Mary and her husband Nicholas Eoloff adopted Vanunu several years ago and are among the rare few permitted to visit the prisoner. They have prepared a room in their home to help him reestablish his life, but now may not even be allowed to correspond with their son. A visit scheduled at the prison for Monday, April 19 could be their last words with Mordechai for the foreseeable future.

"This is an outrageous injustice not fitting for a democratic nation," said Felice Cohen-Joppa, Coordinator of the U.S. Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu, who is now in Israel. "With these restrictions, the Israeli government is building a special prison just for Mordechai Vanunu."

The U.S. Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu asks people of good will to call or fax the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC, and demand that the restrictions be dropped and Mordechai Vanunu be permitted to leave Israel immediately after his release from prison on April 21.

In 1986, at the height of the Cold War, Mordechai Vanunu's clandestine photos from inside the Dimona nuclear center exposed its secrets and confirmed Israel to be a major nuclear weapons power. Kidnapped by Israeli agents just before his story was told in The Sunday Times of London, Vanunu was convicted of espionage and treason in a secret trial. He acted out of a belief that in a democracy, people should know about and debate such a pivotal issue as nuclear weapons.

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