Vanunu defies ban with UK film festival phone-in

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The Independent Online

The Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu yesterday defied his country's ban on him talking to foreigners by addressing a British film festival.

The Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu yesterday defied his country's ban on him talking to foreigners by addressing a British film festival.

Mr Vanunu, who spent 18 years in an Israeli jail for espionage and treason before his release in April, spoke for 12 minutes in a live phone-in to the International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival in Glasgow.

Under the terms of his release, Mr Vanunu is not permitted to talk to foreign nationals and has to remain in Israel for a year. He must notify police if he leaves the city of Jerusalem, where he has been staying, or if he spends the night in another home. Despite the restrictions, Mr Vanunu again defended his decision to release details of Israel's nuclear programme, and spoke out against the holding of nuclear weapons by any state.

He also acknowledged the efforts of campaigners to shut down Faslane Naval base on the Clyde, the home of Britain's Trident nuclear submarines.

Mr Vanunu said Israel had not punished him for speaking out since his release as he was only repeating what he had said 18 years ago. In July, Israel's Supreme Court rejected his petition to be allowed to leave the country. The government argued that he remains a security risk.

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