'I'll talk when I'm free.' Vanunu
Photo: Reuters

Jerusalem court reduces Vanunu's sentence

Nuclear whistleblower's prison sentence reduced from six to three months du to 'ailing health' and 'lack of claims his actions jeopardized Israel's security'

The Jerusalem District Court reduced Tuesday Mordechai Vanunu's prison sentence from six to three months in prison due to his ailing health.


The nuclear whistleblower was convicted of contacting foreign journalists and violating the travel restrictions imposed on him. The Jerusalem court hearing was held after the Magistrates' ruling was appealed by Vanunu's attorneys.


"In light of (Vanunu's) ailing health and the absence of claims that his actions put the country's security in jeopardy, we believe his sentence should be reduced," the judges said.


Vanunu told reporters prior to the hearing, "When I'll be free to talk and move about I'll be able to speak with you. I want the court to authorize my freedom of movement and expression.


In April 2007 Vanunu was convicted was convicted by the Jerusalem Magistrates Court of 15 violations of an IDF Central Command military order prohibiting him from talking to foreign journalists and leaving Israel.


'Defendant has shown complete contempt'

The original indictment included 22 different violations of the order, but during the trial the State Prosecutor's Office submitted an amended indictment, and he was eventually charged with 19 violations and was acquitted of four.


According to the indictment, Vanunu held conversations with foreign journalists and provided them with news and details on Israel's nuclear reactor.


He was acquitted of speaking to foreign nationals on the internet and via video and voice chats.


"This is not a defendant who made a mistake, was negligent or didn't understand what was stated in the order," Judge Yoel Zur wrote in the verdict, "He understood it perfectly well, but did not agree with the order's prohibitions.


"It is not easy to rule on active prison time for Vanunu's repeated offenses, especially since he sat a long prison term in the past, most of which was in solitary confinement, but it seems that the defendant has shown complete contempt of the orders."


פרסום ראשון: 09.23.08, 14:56
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