The following letter has been sent by Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate, and Gerry Grehan, Chair of the Peace People, Northern Ireland, to President Barak Obama, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, other world leaders and prominent personalities, to ask for their help in obtaining the lifting of all restrictions on Mordechai Vanunu and for him to be granted freedom to leave Israel.
Please express your support for this letter by signing this petition.
28 July 2010
We are appealing to you on behalf of a good man, a man of peace and conscience, who was returned to prison for three months on 23 May 2010.
He was released from prison on Sunday 8 August 2010. We need your support to help gain his freedom from Israel.
He is Mordechai Vanunu the Israeli nuclear whistle blower. In October l986, Vanunu told the world that Israel had a Nuclear Weapons Programme. He was kidnapped and given 18 years imprisonment for espionage and treason. Twenty four years later he continues to be punished. In the Jewish Scriptures there is great emphasis on justice and freedom. He served the full 18 years of his sentence (twelve years in solitary confinement, described by Amnesty International as "cruel, inhuman and degrading"). Upon his release, the Israeli Government put severe restrictions upon him, including forbidding him to leave Israel and speak to the foreign media. It was the breaking of these restrictions, in summer 2004, by speaking to the foreign media, (mainly a long interview to the BBC), which resulted in his being returned to solitary confinement again this May.
In June Amnesty International declared him a prisoner of conscience and called on the Israeli authorities to lift the restrictions immediately. "The restrictions on Mordechai Vanunu arbitrarily limit his rights to freedom of movement, expression and association and are therefore in breach of international law. They should be lifted and he should be allowed to start his life again as a free man. Mordechai Vanunu should not be in prison at all, let alone be held in solitary confinement in a unit intended for violent criminals. He suffered immensely when he was held in solitary confinement for 11 years after his imprisonment in 1986 and to return him to such conditions now is nothing less than cruel, inhuman or degrading." 18 June 2010 Amnesty International
Yet, now that he has been released from prison he still has to remain in Israel and the restrictions will be reviewed and probably renewed yet again, as they have been renewed each year for the past 6 years.
Vanunu is seen as a traitor by some, a hero by others. One thing is clear, he has been punished and served the full sentence and it is time after 24 years to do the human thing and let him live as a free man.
The Israeli Supreme Court continues to accept the Secret Services' claims that he still has secrets, but a report by Reuters, 20 December 2009, shows that he does not :
" ... Yet Uzi Eilam, a retired army brigadier-general who ran the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission between 1976 and 1986, said anything that Vanunu -- a cause célèbre among disarmament campaigners -- might still disclose about Dimona is of little relevance. "I've always believed he should be let go," said Eilam.
"I don't think he has significant things to reveal (about Dimona) now."
However, we believe that he will be free and our hope is that you will in some way facilitate his early release which would be welcomed by a world waiting and watching for a peaceful and secure future for Israel and its people. We would greatly appreciate your advising us of any action you take - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate
Gerry Grehan, Chair of the Peace People
Vanunu has been nominated year after year for the Nobel Peace Prize.
The many prominent names who have called for his release and respect of his human rights over the last 24 years include:
The late Nobel Laureates Joseph Rotblat and Harold Pinter; Nobel Laureates Former President Jimmy Carter; Archbishop Desmond Tutu; Mary Ellen McNish (on behalf of AFSC); Betty Williams; Adolfo Perez Esquival; Rigoberta Menchu; Shirin Ebadi; Wangari Maathai; Mairead Maguire; John Hume
Kidnap victims Brian Keenan; Anthony Gray
Politicians and human rights activists: the late Robin Cook, former UK Foreign Secretary; former Israeli Minister Shulamit Aloni; Helen Bamber; Simon Hughes; Daniel Elsberg; Bruce Kent; Noam Chomsky; Rabbi Philip Bentley (USA); Michael Mansfield QC; Dr Paul Oestreicher; Baroness Helena Kennedy QC; Tariq Ali; Jeremy Corbyn; Ken Livingstone; Ben Birnberg; David Goldberg QC; Alex Salmund
Actors, writers, musicians and artists: Emma Thompson; Julie Christie; Susannah York; Vanessa Redgrave; the late Corin Redgrave; Yoko Ono; Bono; Peter Gabriel; the late Graham Greene; the late Yehudi Menuhin; Janet Suzman; Gilad Atzmon; Richard Hamilton; Michael Rosen; David Gilmore; Benjamin Zephaniah, Alexie Sayle; Maggie Hambling; Tom Conti; Simon Callow; Jeremy Hardy; Miriam Margolyes; Prunella Scales; Arnold Wesker; John Williams; Roger Lloyd-Pack; Christopher Logue; the late Adrian Mitchell
Journalists: Andrew Neil; Jon Snow; John Pilger; Robert Fisk; Duncan Campbell; Victoria Brittain; Richard Norton-Taylor