Mordechai Vanunu trial

 Another hearing in the court case of Israeli Christian peace campaigner, Mordechai Vanunu, took place in Jerusalem on Wednesday. Vanunu is the nuclear technician who, in 1986, revealed to the world that Israeli had nuclear weapons. He completed an 18-year prison sentence (much of it in solitary confinement), in April 2004. Since his release he has been living under virtual house arrest in Jerusalem. He is not allowed to speak to foreigners or journalists, or leave the country. At Christmas he was arrested as he tried to get to Bethlehem for Midnight Mass - a 20 minute bus journey from where he is staying at St George's Anglican Cathedral. Security forces said that this constituted an attempt to leave the country. He has been charged over this. The court also alleged that Vanunu has spoken with journalists on 21 occasions. The case opened in January. The court is scheduled to meet again in May to consider evidence for and against the proposition that there is 'no case to answer' under Israeli law. A spokeswoman for the Israeli Embassy in London said that the restrictions were placed upon Vanunu because it is believed he still has military secrets which could endanger Israel's security. Bruce Kent, vice chair of Pax Christi, said this week: "It would do the reputation of Israel no end of good to release this man. After 18 years in prison he cannot possibly have any information that would be remotely useful. The nuclear physicist Frank Barnaby has confirmed this. The industry has moved on. If Israel wants to show itself to be a modern and compassionate nation they should just let him go." A feature, by Jo Siedlecka, on Mordechai Vanunu is published in this Sunday's Catholic Herald.

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