Jo Adetunji guardian.co.uk, Sunday 8 August 2010
Mordechai Vanunu, the Israeli whistleblower who spent 18 years in jail for exposing Israel’s nuclear capabilities was released today after completing a further three-month sentence.
Vanunu, 56, a former technician at a secret nuclear plant near the desert town of Dimona, was convicted after handing over details of Israel’s nuclear arsenal to a British newspaper in 1986.
The revelations led to the belief that Israel held a sizeable nuclear arsenal – a claim Israel has neither confirmed nor denied under its policy of “ambiguity”.
Vanunu served much of his 18-year sentence in solitary confinement.
His latest three-month sentence came after the Moroccan-born whistleblower was convicted of holding unauthorised meetings with foreigners – banned under the conditions of his release – including journalists and his Norwegian girlfriend in 2007.
Since his release in 2004 Vanunu’s movements have been subject to strict conditions, including a ban on leaving Israel, but it is not the first time that Vanunu has been arrested and imprisoned for breaking them. Despite the length of time Vanunu has spent in prison, Israeli security agencies claim he still holds information which could threaten national security.
After his release, Vanunu said: “All this harassing me and arresting me again and again is Israel’s problem, not my problem.”