Hume, Trimble, Corrigan Maguire in Joint Appeal for Vanunu
Thirteen Nobel Peace Laureates, including John Hume, David Trimble and Mairead Corrigan Maguire, have signed a joint appeal calling on the Government of Israel to lift the restrictions re-imposed on the nuclear whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu last April and to allow Vanunu to leave Israel.
Mordechai Vanunu was officially released in April 2004 after serving an 18 year sentence in Ashkelon prison - the first eleven and a half of these he spent in solitary confinement. On his release, he was subjected to a number of very stringent limitations to his freedom, particularly his freedom to travel and his freedom of speech. Among other things, he is forbidden to leave the country, to enter any foreign embassy or consulate in Israel, or be found near any of the country's land, sea or air exits; he is also required to inform the authorities 48 hours in advance if he moves house, and 24 hours in advance if he plans to leave his city of residence or stay overnight somewhere other than at home; he is forbidden to talk with foreigners or participate in Internet chat rooms. Vanunu was arrested and sentenced to a week's house imprisonment on December 24th last for attempting to go to Mass in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Since his release in April 2004, he has been accepting sanctuary in St George's Anglican Church in Jerusalem. During the year his apartment in the Church hostel was raided, his computer seized and he himself arrested by Israeli police.
Recently, an Israeli Court has declared the arrest of December 24th illegal by pronouncing that he should have been free to visit Palestine including the West Bank and Gaza.
On July 3rd, 2005, Vanunu also filed an appeal with the High Court in Israel against the renewal of all the restrictions.