(photo credit: AP)
Mordechai Vanunu, the technician who served 18 years in jail for delivering nuclear secrets to the Sunday Times in 1986, is going back to jail.
On Monday, Jerusalem Magistrate's Court sentenced him to six months in jail for having committed 14 violations of the restrictions imposed upon him when he was released from prison in April 2004.
The restrictions included an order from the minister of interior prohibiting Vanunu from leaving the country and a series of restrictions from O/C South Ya'ir Naveh, which include an order to inform the authorities 48 hours before changing his address and 24 hours before leaving the area he lives in or deciding to sleep outside his home, and a ban on speaking with foreign citizens before receiving approval from the authorities or participating in Internet chats.
"The state indicted Vanunu not just because he had contacts with foreigners (without carrying out the preliminary procedure of informing the authorities and receiving permission from them) but because he maintained contact with foreigners, which included handing over information relating to his work at the Center for Nuclear Research in the Negev," wrote Judge Yoel Tzur. "The commander's orders that are the subject of our hearing were issued to anticipate future dangers. The accused's deeds, which were listed in detail in the verdict and in the declarations that Vanunu made, led to the conclusion that the possibility that [he will] harm national security is a near certainty." In listing the factors that he took into account when determining the sentence, Tzur referred to an appeal against the state which Vanunu had lodged in 1998, while still in prison. In that appeal, a doctor testified in Beersheba District Court that Vanunu suffered from chronic paranoid schizophrenia. At the same time, the doctor said Vanunu's intellect and memory were not affected by the illness and he was still able to express himself clearly. Tzur said that although Vanunu's lawyers, Avigdor Feldman and Michael Sfard, had not presented the doctor's testimony in court, he would still take it into account because Vanunu's condition was said to be chronic.
After the session, Vanunu said his conviction proved that Israel was still under the British mandate because he had been convicted according to a mandatory law [the 1945 Emergency Defense Regulations]. "Maybe I should appeal to the queen or Tony Blair for justice," he said.