Israeli police arrest nuclear whistleblower Vanunu

AP News
|
Posted: Dec 29, 2009 9:49 AM

Nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu was ordered to be put under house arrest Tuesday after being charged with violating a condition of his 2004 release from an Israeli prison.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Vanunu met with "a number of foreigners," something he was ordered not to do for fear he might divulge classified information.

Vanunu, who has been charged with violating this order before, flashed a "V" sign and unleashed a rambling tirade against the "impotent" Jewish state as he entered a Jerusalem court.

His lawyer, Avigdor Feldman, said Vanunu was arrested because he has a Norwegian girlfriend whom police have already interrogated.

A court spokesman said Vanunu would be released from jail Tuesday evening and was ordered to stay under house arrest through Thursday.

Vanunu was a former low-level technician at an Israeli nuclear plant who leaked details and pictures of the operation to the Sunday Times of London in 1986.

Israeli intelligence agents kidnapped him in Rome and brought him back to Israel to stand trial. He served 18 years in prison before being freed, but he is not allowed to leave the country.

Upon his release in 2004, Vanunu was banned from leaving the country and having unauthorized contact with foreigners.

Following a policy that it calls "nuclear ambiguity," Israel has never acknowledged or denied having a nuclear weapons program. But experts concluded from the material that Vanunu divulged that Israel had the world's sixth-largest nuclear arsenal.