Felice Cohen-Joppa / Coordinator, US Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu – 2004-04-20 19:48:18
After 18 Years, Mordechai Vanunu Is Freed
(April 19, 2004) — Amnesty International today joined the global call for the unconditional release of Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu. In a statement from their London office, the international human rights organization said it “urges the Israeli authorities not to impose any restrictions or conditions on former nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu upon his release on Wednesday after 18 years in jail.”
“Mordechai Vanunu should be allowed to exercise his rights to freedom of movement, association and expression in Israel and should be allowed to leave the country if he wishes,” said Amnesty International. “His release is long overdue and Israel must not continue to violate his fundamental human rights once he is released from prison.”
Their statement continues:
In recent months, Israeli officials have publicly supported and called for Vanunu to be detained beyond expiry of his sentence, or for his freedom to be restricted upon his release.
Available information indicates that the Israeli authorities intend to impose heavy restrictions on Vanunu’s freedom upon his release, including banning him from leaving the country, confining him to assigned residence, and denying him the right to be in contact with journalists and foreigners.
Israel is bound by international law not to impose arbitrary restrictions on Mordechai Vanunu, including on his right to travel within the country or abroad, his right to peaceful association with others and his right to express his opinions.
Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Israel has ratified and is obliged to uphold, stipulates that:
everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence” and that “everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own.
The rights to freedom of expression and association are guaranteed by Articles 19 and 21 of the same Covenant.
Restrictions to be faced by Mordechai Vanunu on release:
Mordechai Vanunu will face many restrictions on his release from Ashkelon Prison, so many that his new freedom will be seriously compromised. These draconian restrictions have been imposed under emergency rules inherited by Israel from the 1940s British mandate over Palestine.
• Vanunu will have to register to live in an Israeli city of his choice.
• He will have to give notice to the authorities if he wishes to travel to another city.
• He will not be allowed to leave Israel for 6 months. This restriction will be reviewed at the end of 6 months and could be renewed.
• He will not be allowed to contact foreigners either by phone or in person.
• It is unclear whether his American adoptive parents, who have been allowed to visit him while in custody, will be allowed to speak to him when free.
• He will not be allowed to go within 100 meters of any embassy, visit any port of entry, come within 300 meters of any international boundary and he may not be allowed to worship in a church of his choice.
Brother Fears for Whistleblower’s Safety in Israel
Scores of international supporters of Mordechai Vanunu, their mouths gagged, will vigil outside his prison today. The gags are a symbolic protest of the suffocating restrictions Vanunu must face following his release from prison.
Vanunu, the long imprisoned nuclear whistleblower, is set to leave prison Wednesday morning but may not be free. Authorities have issued a set of restrictions (below) with the intent of “banning” Mordechai Vanunu from participating fully in civil society, at risk of further imprisonment.
Silent Vigil outside Prison Gates
Beginning at 1 p.m Israel time, some 90 international supporters from 13 countries will be joined by Israelis in the silent vigil. Representatives of the international delegation will remove their gags to speak at a press conference today at 5 p.m. Israel time (10 a.m. EDT), across the street from Shikma Prison in Ashkelon, Israel.
On Monday, the government slightly relaxed the banning order, telling Vanunu he would be permitted to discuss his abduction, but not his work at Dimona; while sustaining the bar to his leaving the country for at least one year. Other restrictions would be reviewed after six months.
“Small adjustments of the restrictions are not enough,” his brother Meir told supporters. “My brother Mordechai is entitled to to leave the country. With the tense and difficult situation in the country, Israel will be unable to guarantee his safety.”
Vanunu’s supporters will return to the prison early Wednesday, where they will welcome him from the prison with flowers and the release of 18 white doves, one for each year of his prison witness against nuclear weapons and secrecy.
Press Conference Outside Prison
Representatives of an international delegation of Mordechai Vanunu’s supporters will speak at a press conference on April 20, at 5 p.m. Israel time (10 a.m. EDT) across the street from Shikma Prison in Ashkelon, Israel. Vanunu, the long imprisoned nuclear whistleblower, is set to leave prison the next morning but may not be free. Authorities have issued a list of restrictions (below) with the intent of “banning” Mordechai Vanunu from participating fully in civil society, at risk of further imprisonment.
The press conference will occur during an afternoon vigil for Vanunu by the 90+ member international delegation and scores of Israeli supporters. Speakers at the Press Conference will include:
Gideon Spiro of the Israeli Committee for Mordechai Vanunu and for a Middle East Free of Atomic, Biological and Chemical Weapons;
Issam Makhoul, Israeli-Arab Member of Knesset;
Mairaed Maguire, Irish Nobel Peace Prize Laureate in 1976;
Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Party MP and Vice Chair of House of Commons Human Rights Committee; and
Susannah York, international actor, supporter of human rights causes and Trustee of Campaign to Free Vanunu, UK.
The delegation will return to the prison at 8 a.m. the morning of April 21, to welcome Vanunu as he walks out of prison, and protest if he is not permitted to return their greeting. People of peace and good will are invited to join the welcoming vigils.
Other Americans participating include:
Nick and Mary Eoloff: Mordechai Vanunu’s adoptive parents since 1997, from St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
Reverend Ed Browning: Retired Bishop Episcopal Church, USA
Felice Cohen-Joppa: Coordinator, U.S. Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu. Tucson, Arizona, USA
Art Laffin: Associate coordinator, U.S. Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu, Washington, D.C., USA. Member of the Catholic Worker Movement.
Barry Roth: Psychiatrist, peace and anti-nuclear activist, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Friends to Greet Vanunu with the Release of 18 White Doves
When Mordechai Vanunu walks out of Shikma Prison, he will be met by more than 100 international anti-nuclear, peace and human rights
activists, and at least as many Israeli supporters.
At the moment of Dr. Vanunu’s release, 18 white doves will be released — one for each year of the nuclear whistleblower’s imprisonment.
Bouquets of flowers will greet him, and many signs with his smilingphoto and the words “Thank you, Mordechai Vanunu – Peace Hero, Nuclear Whistleblower.”
Then the collar tightens. Vanunu’s next punishment is to shun all contact with foreigners and most modern communications while confined to the city of Jaffa for one year. He is denied his passport and is forbidden to enter embassies or approach borders and airports. He may not talk to Israelis about his work at the nuclear weapons factory in Dimona, nor even recite his published revelations from the pages of the October 1986 London Sunday Times.
Demonstrations and Celebrations Worldwide
The International Campaign to Free Vanunu continues to stand with Mordechai Vanunu in condemnation of nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East and around the world. We continue to look for a free and open debate on the more than 200 Israeli thermonuclear weapons his revelations exposed 18 years ago.
Hundreds of people in over 20 cities around the world will gather tomorrow, April 21, to celebrate Mordechai Vanunu’s release from
Ashkelon Prison and condemn any restrictions.
There will be vigils in New York City, Detroit, San Francisco, Boston, Washington, DC, Toronto, Rome, Lisbon, London, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dublin, Makati City (Philippines), Sydney, Wellington, Vancouver, Birmingham, Bethlehem (Pennsylvania), and Edina (Minnesota).
Call Israel to Plea for Total Freedom
The US Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu asks people of good will to call or fax the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC, and demand that the restrictions be dropped and Mordechai Vanunu be permitted to leave Israel immediately after his release from prison on April 21.
Israeli Embassy Political Department:
Tel: (202)364-5581, 364-5582
Israeli Embassy Press Office:
Tel: (202) 364-5538
Fax: (202) 364-5610
You can thank Mordechai Vanunu by sending him ‘a flower’ to celebrate his release. To do so go to:
For more information:
Felice Cohen-Joppa, Coordinator, US Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu
POB 43384, Tucson, AZ 85733, Phone/Fax 520-323-8697, firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, see http://www.vanunu.co.uk,
Felice Cohen-Joppa, Coordinator , US Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu , POB 43384, Tucson, AZ 85733, Phone/Fax 520-323-8697