Photo: Raanan Ben-Zur
Vanunu wishes to renounce his Israeli citizenship
Photo: Raanan Ben-Zur
Photo: AFP
He spent 18 years in prison for divulging nuclear secrets
Photo: AFP

Norway rejects Vanunu's asylum request

Officials say nuclear whistleblower's application rejected due to formality; rule states request must be filed in country where applicant seeks refuge

Norway has rejected an asylum application from nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu, the government said Friday.


Vanunu, who spent 18 years in prison for exposing Israel's nuclear weapons program, has repeatedly been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize awarded annually in Oslo.


Norwegian officials said his application for asylum

was rejected due to a formality, because he filed the request in Israel. The rules state the request must be filed in the country where the applicant is seeking refuge.


'No extraordinary measures'


Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Erna Solberg said the government reached its decision based on foreign policy consideration.


Solberg's government portfolio includes responsibility for refugees and asylum seekers


"No one gets asylum in Norway when they have not applied in Norway," he said. "We do not intend to invite Vanunu by giving him political asylum as an extraordinary measure."


However, Vanunu said on the Norwegian state radio network NRK that he had not received any official word on the decision.


"I am very sorry that they did not come to my side

to work for my freedom and release from here," he said. "At the same time as it (the application) has been declined, they should speak very clearly and loud against the government restrictions taking from me my human rights."


Sweden also rejects request  


In October, Sweden rejected Vanunu's application for the same reason, saying that rule is laid out in the Geneva Conventions.


Vanunu was released from prison in April 2004 under strict restrictions, including bans on talking to the news media or leaving the country, making it impossible for him to personally deliver an asylum application in Norway or other countries.


He has said on numerous occasions his desire to renounce his Israeli citizenship and move to a country that would grant him citizenship or asylum, such as the U.S., Ireland, Norway, England, Canada, Denmark and his native Morocco. 


פרסום ראשון: 04.15.05, 19:43
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