Nuclear spy Vanunu gets community service for talking to foreigners
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Nuclear spy Vanunu gets community service for talking to foreigners

Former nuke technician convicted of meeting with 2 US nationals in a breach of his terms of release

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Mordechai Vanunu seen at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court for sentencing after being convicted of breaking the terms of release from prison, July 10, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Mordechai Vanunu seen at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court for sentencing after being convicted of breaking the terms of release from prison, July 10, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Nuclear secret spiller Mordechai Vanunu was sentenced on Monday to 120 hours’ community service for talking to foreigners in violation of his release conditions.

Vanunu was also given a two-month suspended sentence. He was convicted in January by the Jerusalem magistrate’s Court of breaching the terms of his release from prison when he met with two US nationals in Jerusalem in 2013 without having permission to do so.

At the time of his conviction, his lawyer told the court the meeting was a chat lasting “minutes” in a coffee shop with doctors visiting Israel.

He was cleared of two other charges, one of which related to an interview he gave to Israel’s Channel 2 television in 2015.

Channel 2 said that while all the material broadcast in the interview had been approved by Israel’s military censor, the police had asked for the full, unedited footage of the interview, apparently because they suspected that Vanunu discussed matters he was barred from talking about.

The 62-year-old former nuclear worker was jailed in 1986 for disclosing the inner workings of Israel’s Dimona nuclear plant to Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper.

1986 Sunday Times with Vanunu's nuclear revelations
1986 Sunday Times with Vanunu’s nuclear revelations

A Dimona employee from 1976 to 1985, Vanunu revealed overwhelming evidence of Israel’s nuclear program, including dozens of photographs, enabling nuclear experts to conclude that Israel had produced at least 100 nuclear warheads.

He spent more than 10 years of his sentence in solitary confinement. After his release from prison Vanunu was forbidden from leaving Israel and from being in contact with foreigners.

Israel has refused to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or to allow international surveillance of its Dimona plant in the southern Negev desert.

Speaking to AFP outside the courtroom after his January conviction Vanunu said that more than 30 years after he worked in the nuclear plant, he had no more to reveal to anybody.

“After 18 years in prison it’s enough and more… they should let me go. All I want is freedom, that’s all.”

Israel is believed to be the Middle East’s sole — if undeclared — nuclear power, refusing to confirm or deny that it has such weapons.

AFP contributed to this report.

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