Amnesty calls for release of Vanunu

October 23, 1996

Amnesty calls for release of Vanunu

Amnesty International has called for the immediate release of Mordechai Vanunu on the 10th anniversary of his arrest and solitary confinement.

"Mordechai Vanunu has been held alone in a cell for 10 years, which is cruel, inhuman and degrading. He is suffering mental health problems, and he still does not know when he will be released", Amnesty International said. "Any military secrets he may know would be 10 years out of date."

Vanunu was abducted by agents of the Israeli government, in Italy on September 30, 1986, and secretly taken to Israel. He had provided classified information about the Atomic Research Reactor at Dimona, where he had worked from 1977 to 1985, to the British newspaper the Sunday Times. The information indicated that Israel was running a major nuclear military program.

In Israel, Vanunu was held in secret detention — the Israeli authorities did not admit holding him until November 9, 1986. He was tried and convicted on charges of treason and aggravated espionage, and sentenced to 18 years' imprisonment.

Vanunu has been in solitary confinement in Ashkelon Prison for 10 years. In meetings with Amnesty International delegates in February, Israeli government officials, including the then minister of justice, stated that Vanunu could not be released now because they fear he may yet reveal secrets.

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