Vanunu says he wanted to prevent 'new Holocaust'

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The Independent Online

Mordechai Vanunu, released last month after spending 18 years in prison for revealing Israel's nuclear secrets, says he acted to stop a "new Holocaust".

Mordechai Vanunu, released last month after spending 18 years in prison for revealing Israel's nuclear secrets, says he acted to stop a "new Holocaust".

In the first interview since his release, Mr Vanunu said he did not regret his actions, even though he believed he had been made to pay a heavy price.

"I felt it was not about betraying; it was about reporting," the former nuclear technician told BBC2's This World programme, to be broadcast tomorrow. "It was about saving Israel from a new Holocaust.

"What I did was to inform the world what is going on in secret; I didn't say, we should destroy Israel, we should destroy [the] Dimona [nuclear reactor]. I said, look what they have and make your judgement."

Mr Vanunu, 50, was jailed for espionage and treason after giving documents and photographs on the secret reactor to The Sunday Times in 1986. In the programme - which was made by Peter Hounam, the journalist to whom he passed the original information, and who was detained by Israeli authorities last week - Mr Vanunu added: "I have no regrets ... I think it was worth it. I don't think I deserved this punishment."

Mr Vanunu said he wanted to leave Israel, although he is currently banned from leaving the country. He said: "I want to start my new life in the United States, or somewhere in Europe, and to start living as a human being."

Israel's Minister of Justice, Joseph Lapid, told the BBC: "We think [Vanunu] still knows secrets and we don't want him to sell them again."

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