Israeli Interior Minister Ophir Pines-Paz decided Tuesday to ban nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu from leaving the country for a further 12 months, claiming his departure could harm Israel’s national security.

The interior ministry will in effect deny Vanunu the right of obtaining an Israeli passport necessary to leave the country for another year.

‘When a man says that he will harm national security, where does that leave us? This is a preventive step and we have no choice but to use it.’ Pines Paz said.

Vanunu was released from prison last April after serving an 18-year sentence for offering an interview about Israel’s nuclear weapons capabilities to a British newspaper.

Vanunu decided Tuesday not to show up in front of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee to speak about the restrictions imposed on him since his release from prison. His move came after realizing that the decision to extend the travel ban order against him had already been made.

Nevertheless, the Knesset session called by MK Issam Makhoul (Hadash), went ahead in Vanunu’s absence. The session was attended by Vanunu’s adoptive parents, Nick and Mary Eoloff (U.S.), Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire (Ireland), leader of Gush Shalom Uri Avneri and Dan Yakir, chief legal counsel at the Association of Civil Rights in Israel.

Mahoul said he saw no justification for placing restrictions on Vanunu after he had spent 18 years in jail, slamming the interior ministry decision to extend restriction for anther year.