Jailed nuclear technician speaks out

Wednesday, 29 September 2004

In his first Australian interview since his release from prison, former Israeli nuclear technician Mordecahi Vanunu defies the ban imposed on him that forbids him from speaking to foreigners for the first six months since his release.

Vanunu tells Jonathon Lucraft from the University of Adelaide's Radio Adelaide 101.5fm in an Australian exclusive that he is making a sensible calculation that his safety is better assured by speaking out.

Vanunu had spent 18 years in prison in Israel for leaking information about that country's nuclear programs to the British Sunday Times in 1986. He was released on April 23 this year.

Speaking to Radio Adelaide by phone from Israel, Vanunu says he wants to leave Israel to travel and to speak freely. He says he is pleased there is no obvious damage to his mental and physical health caused by his incarceration.

"Five million Jews are regarding me as a traitor, but six billion people around the world see me as a hero," he says. He describes himself as "a good man who brought the message that we should survive...and prevent the use of nuclear weapons."

Mordechai Vanunu was technician at Dimona, Israel's secret nuclear development site from 1976 to 1985. On a visit to Sydney in 1976, he converted from Judaism to Christianity. He leaked information about the weapons programs to the British Sunday Times and was consequently lured from London to Rome by Mossad, the Israeli secret service, where he was kidnapped, flown to Israel, tried in secret and sentenced to 18 years in prison, including 11 years in solitary confinement.

He was released on April 23 this year, with conditions including restriction of movement and a ban on speaking to foreigners. Radio Adelaide believes this is only his second interview since his release, the first on the US National Public Radio Program Democracy Now.

Broadcast for the first time this morning (Wednesday), the interview can be heard again on Thursday on 'The Wire', community radio's national independent current affairs program, heard on community stations around Australia and produced by partners Radio Adelaide 101.5fm in Adelaide, 2ser 107.3fm Sydney and the National Indigenous Radio Service. Standard broadcast time is 5.30pm; to find your local station and broadcast time please check: www.thewire.org.au

Find Radio Adelaide at 101.5FM, or listen online at www.radio.adelaide.edu.au
Radio Adelaide is part of the University of Adelaide.


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