At last week’s NEC meeting I read the following report given to me on the current state of Mordechai Vanunu, by his brother Meir. The 56-year-old, who spent 18 years in prison for revealing details of the country’s nuclear arsenal to the Sunday Times in 1986, was sent back to jail for three months on 23 May on charges of contact with a foreign national, and almost immediately placed in solitary confinement.
The NEC agreed that we should also raise Mordechai’s intolerable situation with the International Federation of Journalists and ask them to get the support of the Israeli journalists union to secure Mordecahi’s release.
Mordechai’s brother Meir Vanunu writes:
‘I just came back from the visit to Mordechai (in Ayalon prison – Ramla) .
I found him to be all right in general but it was a depressing experience. My visit was between 12.15pm-12.45pm.
There was a glass window between us and we spoke via the phone. He wore a prison uniform.
The disturbing main fact is that he is held in the hardest prison section there is in all of Israeli prisons!
It has the most notorious criminals in the country, well known hard murder cases and so on. All, about a dozen in a sever isolation conditions. Of course, there is no justification for doing this to Mordechai and it is only a continuous vindictiveness and harassment by the secret services and not serving any so called ‘security’ interests.
He is in a cell by himself for 24 hours a day, no window but a small mettle-net crack in the top part of one wall. He has about an hour ‘walk’ in a very tiny ‘yard’.
The SHABAK (the prison authorities) simply threw him into a cell, locked the door and let him suffer there. You could imagine that he had not spoken to anyone all these 7 weeks and today it was his first conversation (apart from the short visit of his lawyer 6 weeks ago).
He has with him two heavy books which he is reading second time. He does not know of what is going on in the outside world. He has no news of anything. The food he said was limited, in quality and quantity. I have given him your message of support.
On one hand my impression was that of course he spirits are down, as a result of being put to such harsh, inhumane and cruel conditions and on the other hand from his words I could feel that he continues fighting this reality to keep well and hopeful and sees the day of his freedom coming in six weeks.
My plan is to visit next week either Sunday or Monday and he asked me only for one thing, one good book on history. I will look around for that here in Jerusalem. I am sorry to bring a depressing picture, but that is how it is and I didn’t want to make it lighter or heavier than what it is. My hope is that he keeps his strength to the day of his release to be able to experience his relative freedom again.
All the best
Meanwhile Jeremy Corbyn has launched an early day motion in the Commons on the plight of Mordechai. Please get your MP to support. It was launched on 20 July and so far 15 members have signe
MORDECHAI VANUNU EDM 571
That this House notes Amnesty International’s recognition of Mordechai Vanunu as a prisoner of conscience and condemns without reserve that he is once again being held in isolation in a small cell with no windows, in a special unit for dangerous prisoners in Ayalon prison, one of the most notorious in Israel, for a civil offence; further notes that these intolerable conditions are a harsh Israeli response to a dispute over where Vanunu should do community service, and are a real threat to his health; and calls on the Government to recognise Vanunu as a prisoner of conscience who should be transferred to a less severe prison without delay, and insist to the Israeli authorities that they stop this vindictive harassment of Vanunu and immediately show more respect for international human rights legislation by allowing Vanunu the right to freedom of expression and association and the opportunity to leave Israel, if he wishes, to live in the country of his choice.