Police detain nuclear whistleblower Vanunu

By Jonathan Lis

Haaretz

Cheshvan 27, 5765

The police international investigations unit detained nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu on Thursday morning for questioning related to an ongoing probe examining suspicions he leaked national secrets and violated legal rulings since his release from prison.

Prior to Vanunu's detention, police searched his room in the east Jerusalem hostel in which he is staying. Officers confiscated documents and other materials.

The search of Vanunu's room and the investigation itself are being conducted at the direction of the attorney general and in coordination with the state prosecutor.

Vanunu ended an 18-year prison term for treason in April, but was barred from leaving Israel. Security sources had said he was under surveillance on suspicion of giving unauthorized interviews to foreign media.

In an interview with a Greek radio station in late September, the Vanunu said that he does not feel safe in Israel, and wishes to leave the country as soon as possible. Vanunu also used the interview to reiterate his attacks on Israel's nuclear policies.

"The United States is pushing Iran with respect to its nuclear weapons program. It needs to do the same thing to Israel," he stated. "You can't focus on Iran and forget about Israel."

The former prisoner, who was imprisoned on charges of spying and treason, also dealt with Israel's nuclear secrets in the interview. "There are still nuclear weapons materials in Israel, and I believe that during the past 18 years, more have been built," he said.

Several months ago, authorities opened a criminal investigation against Vanunu for granting an interview to the BBC and the Sunday Times weeks after his release, in light of security issues, since Vanunu had discussed secret knowledge he had been forbidden to discuss in the interview.

"Vanunu has flagrantly violated the conditions of his release in granting this interview," stated police sources. "Something must be done to stop this."