(photo credit: Courtesy)
Mordechai Vanunu, the man who spent 18 years in jail after being convicted of treason and espionage, demanded that his Israeli citizenship be revoked in accordance with a new law by which those convicted of treason will lose the right to be Israeli citizens. Vanunu's demands came in a letter to Interior Minister Eli Yishai released to the media on Saturday.
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"I have no interest in Israeli citizenship, I don’t want to go on living here," Vanunu, convicted of revealing secrets about Israel’s nuclear weapons program to the London-based Sunday Times, said in the letter. Vanunu was released from prison in 2004, but has been sent back several times for violating the terms of his release. He was prohibited from traveling abroad, coming into contact with foreigners and granting interviews.
"Recently, the Knesset passed a law authorizing the revocation of Israeli citizenship for those convicted of espionage and treason. For 25 years I am waiting and demanding the restoration of my complete freedom. I am asking the State of Israel to revoke my citizenship. This wish for revocation of citizenship is neither new nor recent. Now, however, it is supported by the new Citizenship Revocation Law, passed on March 28, 2011," Vanunu said in the letter.
"I am asking and expecting that this law be enforced to the letter, and
that my citizenship be revoked here and now, under the spirit of the
law. I have no other citizenship, but I can easily get one, even during
my enforced sojourn in Israel, and certainly if I leave the country.
After the treatment and "care" which I got from this country and its
citizens, I cannot feel myself a wanted citizen here," he added.
Vanunu has long expressed his desire to leave Israel but the state has
refused his requests, fearful he may reveal more of the state's nuclear
"In the Israeli media and on the Israeli streets I am called "The Atomic
Spy" and 'A traitor', harassed and persecuted as an Enemy of the State
for 25 years. I feel myself still imprisoned, still a prisoner of war
and a hostage, held by the state and the government. After 25 years of
getting various harsh penalties from the state, I would like to see an
end to punishments and the realization of my basic human right to
freedom. I wish to exercise my right to the Freedom of Conscience and
the Freedom of Choice, by choosing not to be a citizen of Israel,"
" I have no interest in Israeli citizenship, I do not want to live here.
I ask that you revoke my citizenship here and now. I request that you
set me free of Israel, since Israel does not want me nor do I want
Israel. All that I knew I told, already in 1986, to the English
newspaper. I have no further confidential information. The time has come
to let me leave Israel, after 25 years of imprisonment, a full quarter
of a century!" the letter concluded.