Editor’s Note: Mordechai Vanunu stands as one of the premier whistleblowers in the nuclear age, having exposed what has remained a topic never officially acknowledged by U.S. presidents and rarely discussed in the U.S. news media: Israel’s possession of a large and sophisticated nuclear arsenal.
In 1986, after turning over photographic evidence of Israel’s nuclear program to a London newspaper, Vanunu was lured to Rome, where he was kidnapped by Israeli agents who smuggled him back to Israel, where he was tried for treason and imprisoned for 18 years.
After his release in 2004, he was barred from speaking with foreign journalists and – when he resisted those restrictions – he was prosecuted again and returned to prison, as author Eileen Fleming describes in this guest article:
On May 23, 2010, Mordechai Vanunu began a three-month sentence in solitary confinement on charges of speaking to foreign media in 2004. On Sunday, July 11, 2010, his brother Meir was allowed to visit him for 30 minutes.
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Vanunu’s friend, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire, reported: “There was a glass window between them and they spoke via the phone. He wore a prison uniform. He is held in the hardest prison section there is in the prison. It has the most notorious criminals in the country, well known hard murder cases. All about a dozen are in severe isolation conditions.
“He is in a cell by himself for 24 hours a day, no window but a small wire covered crack at the top part of one wall. He has about an hour’s walk a day in a very tiny yard. He was simply thrown in a cell by the security agents, the door locked, and left to suffer there all alone. He has not spoken to anyone in all the seven weeks and this visit was (apart from a short visit of his lawyer 6 weeks ago) the first conversation he had in seven weeks.