The Israeli government’s refusal to allow whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu, who leaked details of the country’s nuclear arsenal to the international media in 1986, to leave the country for even three days to attend events in the UK next week is entirely unjustified, said Amnesty International.
Last month, Israel’s Interior Minister rejected an application by the former nuclear technician to travel to the UK in June. His lawyers have petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn this decision, as well as to revoke a host of other restrictions against him including an ongoing complete travel ban. The Court is expected to rule on his request to travel to the UK next week.
Mordechai Vanunu is due to attend an event organized by Amnesty International in London on 17 June to promote the protection of whistleblowers including Edward Snowdon and Chelsea Manning. He has also been invited to address the British parliament on 18 June.
“The continued punishment of Mordechai Vanunu for blowing the whistle on Israel’s nuclear arsenal 18 years ago is vindictive and utterly groundless,” said Philip Luther, Director for the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.
A decade after his release from prison Mordechai Vanunu is barred from leaving Israel. He is also banned from entering foreign embassies, or taking part in internet chats and speaking to foreign journalists without prior permission.
Mordechai Vanunu served an 18-year prison sentence for revealing information about Israel’s nuclear arsenal to The Sunday Times in 1986. He spent the first 11 years of his prison term in solitary confinement. The Israeli authorities say he still poses a threat to national security.