News24

Nuke whistleblower held in Israel

2009-12-29 18:08

Nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu has been ordered to be put under house arrest after being charged with violating a condition of his 2004 release from an Israeli prison.

Jerusalem - Nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu was ordered to be put under house arrest on Tuesday after being charged with violating a condition of his 2004 release from an Israeli prison.

Police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said Vanunu met with "a number of foreigners", something he was ordered not to do for fear he might divulge classified information.

Vanunu, who has been charged with violating this order before, flashed a "V" sign and unleashed a rambling tirade against the "impotent" Jewish state as he entered a Jerusalem court.

His lawyer, Avigdor Feldman, said Vanunu was arrested because he has a Norwegian girlfriend whom police have already interrogated.

A court spokesperson said Vanunu would be released from jail on Tuesday evening and was ordered to stay under house arrest through Thursday.

Jailed for 18 years

Vanunu was a former low-level technician at an Israeli nuclear plant who leaked details and pictures of the operation to the Sunday Times of London in 1986.

Israeli intelligence agents kidnapped him in Rome and brought him back to Israel to stand trial. He served 18 years in prison before being freed, but he is not allowed to leave the country.

Upon his release in 2004, Vanunu was banned from leaving the country and having unauthorised contact with foreigners.

Following a policy that it calls "nuclear ambiguity", Israel has never acknowledged or denied having a nuclear weapons programme.

But experts concluded from the material that Vanunu divulged that Israel had the world's sixth-largest nuclear arsenal.