On 16 February I blogged that the union had agreed to back a campaign of support for Mordechai Vanunu, an honorary member of the NUJ, who served 18 years in prison for revealing Israel’s secret nuclear programme to the Sunday Times in 1986.
Earlier this week, Israel’s supreme court ordered nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu back to jail for three months after he refused to do community service in west Jerusalem for fear of harassment. After having already served 18 years in prison, earlier this year a Jerusalem court convicted Vanunu and sentenced him to three months in jail or community service for meeting with a foreigner in violation of the terms of his release. Vanunu asked the supreme court if he could perform the community service in Arab east Jerusalem, saying he feared he would be “harassed by the Israeli population” in the west of the city. The supreme court rejected the argument, saying suitable work had been found in west Jerusalem.
Unless the Israeli authorities can be made to change their minds Mordechai will be returned to prison on 23 May
“If Mordechai Vanunu is imprisoned again, Amnesty International will declare him to be a prisoner of conscience and call for his immediate and unconditional release,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
Vanunu, 56, who is banned from leaving the country, told Amnesty International on 12 May: “Whether I go to prison or not, it doesn’t matter to me. I feel like I’m in prison already, trapped in Israel.”
Jeremy Dear is writing letters of protest to and the Israeli ambassador and the foreign secretary. Meantime you can help by getting your MP to protest against the sentence and by writing to William Hague MP, secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs, King Charles Street, London, SW1A 2AH and the Israeli ambassador, Ron Prosor, Embassy of Israel, 2 Palace Green, London W8 4QB demanding his unconditional release and right to leave Israel.