An Appeal to the Norwegian Government

Since April 9 there has been an enormous interest and support in Norway for granting me asylum in Norway. The media has given extensive coverage, putting a strong pressure on the government. Others involved in this pressure are the Socialist Party, the Trade Union, the bishops of the Church of Norway, and lawyers.

Since mid-May more than 200 lawyers in Norway have signed an appeal to the Norwegian government to grant me asylum and to put pressure on the Israeli government to cancel the restriction of me of not leaving the country. This is a solid list of lawyers involved in foreigners law, immigration, asylum and refugee law, human rights, and international law.

The appeal claims that legal formalities and arguments used by both the former and the present Norwegian governments as excuses for not giving me ayslum, are clearly untenable law: The fact that I'm in my "home country" is no bar to granting me asylum and issuing a Norwegian passport.

The lawyers' appeal to the Norwegain government contains a three-point plan on how to help me - if the political will is there. It is claimed that under international law any country can grant asylum and issue a passport for a foreigner in need of protection on humanitarian grounds, even those under foreign jurisdiction. Supporters in other countries are encouraged to raise this appeal also to their governments.

The following is an updated orientation for lawyers and the attachment is the letter we sent to the Prime Minister this Wednesday 14.

-Fredrik S. Heffermehl

Oslo, May 15, 2008

Dear colleague,

In the last 6 weeks there has been a tremendous interest in Norway for the liberation of Mordechai Vanunu, Israel´s nuclear hostage. The media have given extensive and sympathetic coverage, and the cabinet obviously is under strong pressure to stop ignoring the many calls for action in the matter.

The launch of the Lawyers´ appeal yesterday was a media success. An editorial in a main Oslo paper today, said that the pressure on the cabinet is building and called the lawyer´s appeal a very heavyweight contribution. Earlier appeals for a strong Norwegian intervention to protect Vanunu´s security and human rights have been made by the 2005 congress of all Trade Unions, a month ago by the Council of Norwegian Bishops. Generally there is both a strong feeling of sorrow and indignation in Norway about the plight of Vanunu.

A translation into English of the lawyers´ appeal is attached. In Norwegian you will find it on the web with the lists of signatories, at this address:

You may not be able to decipher all the titles in Norwegian. It is interesting that the first 100 signatories include nearly 25 "professors dr. of law" and a very solid list of over 60 lawyers involved in foreigners law, immigration, asylum and refugee law, human rights and international law. This just is not something to be ignored - the petition makes it clear that legal formalities and the arguments used by several Norwegian governments as a fig leaf to excuse inaction, are clearly untenable law. The point is that the fact that MV is in his "home country" is no bar to granting him asylum and a Norwegian passport and protection.

In the final paragraph, the petition lays out a three-point action plan on how to come to the rescue of Mordechai - if the political will is there. It further makes the point that under international law any country is entitled to grant asylum and issue a passport for a foreigner in need of protection on humanitarian grounds, even those under foreign jurisdiction. I hope this could be used by colleagues and peace movements in many countries to approach their gvmts.

The support for Mordechai in the Norwegian media and the general public is enormous - I should wish you could have read the main editorial in Dagsavisen today . We hope to create the political will also in the cabinet (The interesting position is that there is an internal split in the three-partite cabinet between the two junior partners and the main party (Labor) and also within the ranks of Labor itself).

Our foreign minister (Labor) still sticks to a standard statement "Israel is a rule of law democracy and Norway will not wish to interfere in the operation of Israeli justice". I have again and again said that he is giving an answer to a question that has not been asked, what we are demanding is that Norway intervenes forcefully in an individual case where it is clear for everyone to see that Israel is violating the principles of law and democracy. We hope the cabinet of Norway will in discrete forms convince colleagues in Israel that the 60 years anniversary is a good occasion for Israel to appear as a state under the rule of law by releasing Mordechai.

-Fredrik S. Heffermehl, Oslo