Sat, Nov 13, 2004 - Page 6 News List

Whistleblower Vanunu detained

AFP , JERUSALEM

Mordechai Vanunu, who was freed in April after 18 years in an Israeli prison for revealing the country's nuclear ambitions, has been placed under house arrest after being detained on suspicion of giving secret information to foreigners, a judicial source said yesterday.

The former Israeli nuclear technician, 50, was taken into custody at an east Jerusalem hotel on Thursday, where police seized documents found in his room, police said.

The judicial source said he was released from custody in the evening and placed under house arrest for seven days at his east Jerusalem home.

He has been banned from talking to the media and from announcing the exact nature of the charges against him.

Vanunu is suspected of having communicated "secret information to foreigners" and of having violated the restrictions imposed on him by Israeli security services after his release from prison, police said on Thursday.

Since his release from prison on April 21, Vanunu has been subject to a series of sweeping restrictions, including a ban on travelling abroad as well as holding unauthorized meetings with foreigners.

He was also banned from leaving Israel for at least a year.

Vanunu was abducted by Israeli secret service agents in Italy, smuggled back to Israel and then jailed in 1986 after leaking top-secret details about the Dimona nuclear plant in the southern Negev desert to Britain's Sunday Times.

In July, Israel's Supreme Court rejected an appeal filed by Vanunu, who sought the lifting of the restrictions, saying they were unfairly severe and prevented him from leading a normal life.

The judges ruled that he remained "a real threat" to national security after they had submissions from the security services.

But Vanunu insists that he has no more secrets to reveal.

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