January 25 was an eventful day in Jerusalem not only for the Palestinian elections, but also for the long-awaited trial of nuclear whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu, who spent 18 years in Israeli jails for releasing secrets about nuclear weapons being developed in Israel’s nuclear plant, Dimona.
According to Vanunu, the Israeli intelligence decided to move his trial from January 15 to 25 deliberately to have less media presence at the trial as they will all be busy covering the Palestinian elections.
"Together with me were my brother Meir, Gideon Spiro, Ein-Gil from Tel-Aviv, and about dozen other supporters from Israel and overseas. The original date was for the 15th of January, but the SHABAK moved it to the 25th, today, Palestinian Election Day. So, no foreign media arrived and only three local journalists were in the court," said Vanunu.
He wrote an account of the trial day which he called, "Today’s Trial" in which he claims that the trial has nothing to do with Israel’s security, but with violating Vanunu’s right to free speech.
"The state prosecution presented the court with copies of interviews by me with foreign media. Most of this evidence was in the form of text or sound downloads from the internet. Other evidence was video and disc copies of interviews by me with foreign television networks. Among the media bodies listed: BBC World, David Frost BBC, sky, ABC Australia-Late Night with Tony Jones, Radio KPFA in the US, Le Figaro from France, Asahi Shimbun from Japan. Other interviews were from internet websites and also included as an item internet chats," he wrote.
After his release in April of 2004, Israel prohibited Vanunu to give interviews to foreign media, alleging that this would jeopardize states security.
Vanunu’s lawyer Avigdor Feldman argued that the state prosecutor failed to prove that those journalists who interviewed Vanunu were foreign, and that most of the evidence were not original copies but downloads from the internet.
This evidence was accompanied by testimony given by a police officer who interrogated Vanunu last year in a police station. He said that the interrogation was recorded without his consent which is against the law.
"This police interrogation was recorded by secret video camera without my knowledge," Vanunu added.
The session, which took few hours ended by setting another session on February 9 for more witnesses and evidences that Vanunu is threatening the state’s security.
However, Vanunu insists that the trial was not related in any way to state’s security. "Never in all my court cases have I found the courts seeking the truth or justice and I doubt they will now," said Vanunu and added, in his account, "So this is "the trial" that Israel wants, at the same time they are hiding it, hiding the fact that this is a trial not about ‘state security’, as they have said in the past 20 years, but about the fact of me speaking to press! No ‘nuclear secrets involved!, I have no more secrets since the publication in 1986."