Nine years ago tomorrow (21 April) Mordechai Vanunu was released from Ashkelon prison in Israel. He had served the full 18 years of his sentence – including over 11 years in solitary confinement – for blowing the whistle on Israel’s nuclear arsenal.
But even nine years after his release, he is not truly free. Israel prohibits Vanunu from leaving the country, as he wishes to, and his freedom of speech and movement has been repeatedly curtailed. He has even suffered further jail terms for breaching restrictions including talking to foreign nationals.
The Middle East urgently needs dialogue and transparency around nuclear weapons – especially in light of the faltering progress towards the UN goal of a Weapons of Mass Destruction-Free Zone in the Middle East. Yet Vanunu’s tale is precisely the result of the Israeli government’s secrecy and deception around its nuclear weapons programme.
CND calls on the Israeli Government to lift the restrictions on Mordechai Vanunu so that he can at last be truly free and to enter into open and transparent negotiations with other states in the region, so that the vision of a WMD-Free Zone in the Middle East can be realised.