ACTION ALERT: Vanunu Arrested in Morning Raid
November 12, 2004
Free Mordechai Vanunu - Info & Action Alert #38
Nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu has beeb arrested in his room at St. George's Cathedral in East Jerusalem by a huge force of about 30 armed police. The pretext for his arrest: Vanunu violated the Draconian restrictions by giving interviews to foreign media. The restrictions were imposed after his release from prison in April, after serving more than a decade in solitary confinement for confirming the existence of Israel's nuclear arsenal.
Mordechai Vanunu was arrested this morning in his room at St. George's Cathedral in East Jerusalem, by a huge police force (about 30 armed officers). The pretext for his arrest: Vanunu violated the Draconian restrictions that were imposed on him when he was released from prison in April, by giving interviews to foreign media.
The attempt to silence Mordechai Vanunu on this of all days, is an attempt to bury Israel's secret nuclear arsenal together with Yasser Arafat. While the world media and attention are focused on the burial of the Palestinian leader, the Israeli government is attempting to disappear the nuclear whistleblower, whose only crime is revealing the terrible truth that Israel is trying to hide: weapons of mass destruction that are concealed from Israeli citizens and from the world.
Mordechai Vanunu is expected to be brought to court on Friday morning, November 12. His supporters will demonstrate outside the courthouse. Details will be sent out later today.
On the arrest of Mordechai Vanunu from St George's Cathedral
A Letter from The Rt. Reverend Riah H Abu El-Assal, the Bishop of The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & The Middle East The Diocese of Jerusalem
To: The Most Revd Rowan Williams Archbishop of Canterbury
The Most Revd Frank Tracy Griswold Presiding Bishop of ECUSA
The Most Revd Andrew Hutchinson Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada
The Most Revd Peter Carnley Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia
The Australian Board of Mission
The Revd Canon John L. Peterson Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council
The Revd Samuel Kobia General Secretary of the World Council of Churches
Mr Jeries Saleh Middle East Council of Churches
The Heads of Churches in Jerusalem
cc: His Excellency, President Moshe Katsav
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
(November 11, 2004) -- It is with tremendous grief and sadness that I inform you that the Israeli special police force entered St George's Cathedral Close today without permission and took Mordechai Vanunu into custody. Approximately thirty officers, many with guns, entered the cathedral gardens and interrupted breakfast in the Pilgrim Guest House. It was a traumatic event that terrorized many of our tourists, pilgrims, and staff. In the 100 years of the cathedral's history, such an event has never taken place.
Immediately I related how they have come into a sacred place, and that their guns were not welcome. The officers with guns withdrew to outside of the Cathedral Close; however, it came to my attention later, that at least one of the officers still carried a concealed weapon. This was after I had been reassured that all weapons had been removed from the church grounds. It is inconceivable why such force is mandated for procedures like today's.
Mordechai was calm during the search, questioning the need for the interrogation, and they searched his room in his and my presence. They took his papers, laptop, and other possessions into custody. I called his lawyer, and he will meet Mordechai in Petah Tiqva.
This type of entry into a sacred space must not be tolerated by the churches throughout the world, and it must not be accepted by those who respect the rights and dignity of every person. We ask the government of Israel to stop such actions as these, and we call for the respect of sacred places in the Land of the Holy One. It is with extreme sadness and disappointment that I must write this letter, and please continue to pray for us in these difficult times.
Peace of God to all of you,
The Rt Revd Riah Abu El-Assal Bishop in Jerusalem
Vanunu detained on suspicion of revealing confidential information. Nuclear spy also suspected of violating restrictions imposed on him during his April release from prison.
Vanunu Arrested in Morning Raid
Tal Yamin-Wolfowitz / Ma'ariv, English language website
(Nov. 11, 2004) -- Mordechai Vanunu was detained this (Thursday) morning by police on suspicion of revealing confidential information and of failing to abide by the restrictions that were imposed on him upon his release from prison.
The nuclear spy was arrested after a search was carried out in his room, which is located in an East Jerusalem hostel not far from the Saint George Church. During the search, documents and a laptop were uncovered and taken to the offices of the International Crimes Unit in Petah Tikva for examination.
Vanunu was under surveillance for months as defense officials estimated it was only a matter of time until he would be detained. Since his April release, the nuclear whistleblower has stretched the boundaries of his restrictions when he spoke with foreign media organizations.
When Vanunu was released, a long list of restrictions was imposed on him. Among other things, he was not allowed to leave the country, contact foreign nationals without consent or hold chats on the internet. He was also instructed to notify officials when he did not sleep at his known residence.
Three months ago, Attorney General Meni Mazuz instructed police to launch a criminal investigation against Vanunu following the interviews he had given to foreign media.
Felice Cohen-Joppa Coordinator US Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu POB 43384 Tucson, AZ 85733 Phone/Fax 520-323-8697 email@example.com www.nonviolence.org/vanunu
What You Can Do:
• Contact Israeli Embassy to demand his release! phone: 202-364-5500 email: firstname.lastname@example.org fax: 202-364-5607
• Public & Interreligious Affairs v.(202) 364-5542 Political Department (202)364-5581/2 Press Office (202) 364-5538
• contact Israeli ambassador in your country - http://www.embassyworld.com/embassy/israel1.html
• For more information: email@example.com www.vanunu.com www.vanunu.co,uk
Update: Vanunu Released to House Arrest
(i>US Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu
(November 11, 2004) -- Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu was released from custody that evening, following his arrest in a dramatic and excessive show of force early Thursday morning, November 18, at St. George's Cathedral in East Jerusalem. He has been punished yet again, and placed under house arrest for seven days. His cell phones were returned to him, but he is still waiting for his laptop computers to be returned.
Vanunu was warned that he is still bound by the severe restrictions placed on him by Israeli authorities when he was released on April 21 after serving his complete 18 year sentence. Issues regarding his re-arrest are under investigation, and no formal charges have been filed. However, Vanunu was told that he may face charges for interviews that he has given to foreign media.
When Vanunu was released from custody, he told the press, "Once, twice, three times -- how many times will I be punished for the same act?" Thursday morning, at least 30 armed police stormed the compound of St. George's Cathedral, terrifying the clergy as well as pilgrims and guests having breakfast. The force consisted of special unit officers on motorcycles as well as additional police in other vehicles. A reporter for Israel's Channel 2 evening news called the raid "unnecessary and embarrassing" and wondered aloud why the police hadn't simply asked Vanunu to report for questioning.
By the time he was released from detention, the general opinion in the Israeli media was that, once again, Israel's security services had gone out of their way to make Vanunu headline news. After his release Vanunu told friends that he was well and glad to be back at St. George's, but that as long as he is kept in Israel against his will, he remains a prisoner. He thanked his supporters for their immediate response to his arrest.
Daniel Ellsberg, author of the book "Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers," said: "The only secret Mordechai Vanunu has left to tell the world is the one he revealed on the day of his release from 18 years in prison, April 21, 2004: 'I am a symbol of the will of freedom, that the human spirit is free. You cannot destroy the human spirit.' That is indeed the most dangerous secret in the eyes not only of Israel but of every state that withholds vital information from its own citizens, including the U.S. and U.K. Israel should let the foremost prophet of the nuclear age go forth to be honored throughout the world -- and we call on them to do so -- but even if it returns him instead to his 6-by-9 foot cell, Mordechai Vanunu will remain the most free man on earth."
Vanunu's adoptive American parents, Nick and Mary Eoloff, said after learning of their son's re-arrest: "We are horrified that today armed Israeli special police forces entered St. George's Cathedral compound in order to kidnap Mordechai Vanunu for the second time. It is further proof that the security forces have no respect for an individual's human rights and dignity nor respect for a religious site which is a sacred place of sanctuary. Mordechai has always acted from a moral belief that nuclear weapons are immoral and illegal and that all nations should begin the process of their disarmament."
In 1986, Vanunu was kidnapped, taken back to Israel for a secret trial and convicted on charges of treason and espionage after revealing information about Israel's secret nuclear arsenal to the London Sunday Times. The restrictions include not being allowed to leave Israel and not being allowed to talk to foreign press, among other things restricting his freedom of movement and speech.
Supporters around the world continue to work for Vanunu's total freedom, and join him in continuing to call for nuclear abolition in the Middle East and around the world. Fifteen British supporters vigiled at the Israeli Embassy in London on November 11 to immediately protest Vanunu's arrest.
Felice Cohen-Joppa, coordinator of the US Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu said: "It is an outrage that Israel has re-arrested nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu only six months after his release from prison. The unjust and severe restrictions that have forced Mordechai Vanunu to remain in Israel following his release last April, and intend to muzzle his voice for nuclear disarmament, are grave violations of his human and civil rights. After 18 years in prison, he has no secrets to reveal. Israel must stop punishing this man who has already suffered so much for letting the world know about Israel's nuclear arsenal."
Rayna Moss, Israeli coordinator for the International Campaign to Free Vanunu, said: "The attempt to silence Mordechai Vanunu on this of all days, is an attempt to bury Israel's secret nuclear arsenal together with Yasser Arafat. While the world media and attention are focused on the burial of the Palestinian leader, the Israeli government is attempting to disappear the nuclear whistleblower, whose only crime is revealing the terrible truth that Israel is trying to hide: weapons of mass destruction that are concealed from Israeli citizens and from the world."
Mordechai said this afternoon on Israeli TV in English, "One, two, three times, how many times do they need to arrest me for the same thing?"