(1954 - )
Mordechai Vanunu was an employee at Israel’s
nuclear reactor at Dimona. In 1985, before leaving his job, he took
photographs inside the facility.
Traveling through Asia with the film in his backpack,
Vanunu made his way to Sydney, Australia, where he found companionship
in an Anglican church social justice community with whom he shared
the story of his nuclear background. In Sydney he also converted to
Christianity and was baptized in July 1986. When the London Sunday
Times heard about the information he possessed, they sent a reporter
to Sydney to investigate, and then brought Vanunu to England, where
his photos and facts were checked by British nuclear experts. The Times published the photos along with details about Israel’s nuclear
capability on October 26, 1986.
Shortly after publication, the Mossad drugged and kidnaped Vanunu in Rome, whisking him off to Israel where
he was tried and convicted for leaking classified information and committing
espionage. Vanunu received an 18-year prison sentence. He spent more
than 11 1/2 years in solitary confinement before being released into
the general prison population. He completed his sentence in Israel's
Ashkelon Prison on April 21, 2004, but the Israeli government imposed
severe restrictions on his movement and speech, including the condition
that he is not allowed to leave the country because he is still considered
a security threat.
In March 2005, an Israeli court charged Vanunu with
violating the terms of his release by giving interviews to foreign
media and defying a travel ban.
Now living in Jerusalem's St George's Anglican cathedral, Vanunu is
banned from using the internet or mobile phones, and may not approach
embassies or borders.
Sources: Bard, Mitchell G. and Moshe Schwartz. 1001
Facts Everyone Should Know About Israel. Rowman & Littlefield
Publishers, 2005.; BBC News, (March 17, 2005); The