(photo credit: AP)
Mordechai Vanunu, the man who spent 18 years in jail after being convicted of treason and espionage was released from Ayalon Prison in Ramle Sunday after serving a further three months.
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Upon his release, Vanunu stated that he held no nuclear secrets and maintained that the Israeli government should leave him alone.
"I am not a scientist...my knowledge is not of nuclear weapons," said Vanunu.
"I want to be free and leave this country," he added.
Vanunu was returned to jail in May after being found guilty of violating restrictions imposed upon him when he was released from prison.
Vanunu was tried and convicted for revealing secrets about Israel’s nuclear weapons program to the London-based Sunday Times
. He was released in April 2004 on condition that he obey restrictions imposed upon him by the interior minister and the army. Vanunu was prohibited from leaving the country, could not speak to foreigners without prior approval from the authorities and could not participate in Internet chat sites, among other restrictions.
One year after his release, the state accused him of violating the restrictions on 21 separate occasions. He was tried in Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, convicted of 14 of the charges and sentenced to six months in jail.
In his sentence, Judge Yoel Tzur wrote, “The defendant demonstrated total disdain for the general’s orders. Fourteen violations of these orders and another attempt to do so. The maximum punishment for each violation is six months. I have decided under the circumstances to sentence the defendant to the maximum punishment for one of these violations because of the circumstances of the case.”
Vanunu appealed the decision to the district court, which reduced his sentence to three months. In a second appeal, the Supreme Court asked the state to consider allowing him to perform community service instead, and suggested allowing him to do so in east Jerusalem, since it might be dangerous for him to work among Jews who might attack him.
At the time of his sentencing, Vanunu told reporters, referring to the
Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the Mossad, “What you did not get
for 18 years while I sat in jail, you won’t get now. You want to educate
me? I cannot accept violation of my right to freedom of expression.
“Israel, you should be ashamed of yourself and the stupid spies of the
Israel Security Agency who are returning me to jail after 24 years,
during which I spoke only the truth. Be ashamed of yourselves, all you
Arabs who are allowing me to return to jail; be ashamed of yourselves
the US Congress and Senate, the chairman of the Atomic Energy Agency,
Mohamed El Baradei, for not defending my freedom. Be ashamed of
yourselves, all the religions, the stupid Jewish, Christian and Muslim