Israeli nuclear secret-leaker Vanunu convicted of meeting with foreigners

Vanunu denied that he posed a security risk.

January 23, 2017 13:59
2 minute read.
Mordechai Vanunu appears in the magistrate's court in Jerusalem

Mordechai Vanunu appears in the magistrate's court in Jerusalem. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Mordechai Vanunu, the former nuclear technician at Dimona who had already served an 18-year prison sentence for revealing information about Israel’s atomic program in 1986 and been released, has been convicted of violating his unique release conditions, having met with foreigners.

Due to his past crimes in revealing classified information to foreigners, Vanunu had several special conditions for his release, including not meeting with foreigners without approval of Israeli security forces.

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The conviction was handed down by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on January 10, but was only announced for the first time by the court spokesperson’s office on Monday.

Besides that conviction, Vanunu was acquitted of two other charges: interviewing and revealing more classified information with Channel 2 in September 2015, and moving his residence without approval.

Vanunu was indicted in May and arrested in September 2015, emerging from a court hearing telling the awaiting press that he charged State Attorney Shai Nitzan with “abusing him.”

Vanunu’s interview with Channel 2 in September 2015 was his first interview with a Hebrew-language Israeli media outlet since his arrest in 1986.

The arrest and investigation were ordered by the Shin Bet, who is also responsible for monitoring the conditions of his parole.

In the portion of the interview which aired on television, Vanunu talked about his motivations for revealing the information and his struggles and anger with Israeli authorities, but he did not discuss the substance of the information itself.

On the air, Vanunu told Channel 2 that his decision to photograph sensitive nuclear facilities at Dimona and reveal information that Israel had kept secret until that point was motivated by his desire to “inform the citizens of the Middle East, the world, and the State of Israel.”

The former technician said that he had gradually adopted left-wing views during his employment at Dimona, and that he was horrified at “the danger” of Israel’s nuclear weapons program.

Vanunu was jailed as a traitor in 1986 and served an 18-year sentence after discussing his work as a technician at the Dimona nuclear reactor facility with Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper, an interview that led experts to conclude that the facility had produced fissile material for as many as 200 atomic warheads.

Vanunu denied that he posed a security risk, but said he would pursue anti-nuclear activities and wanted to live abroad.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this story.


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