Israel 'to free nuclear whistleblower'
Agencies via Al Jazeera - Feb 4, 2004
The Israeli government is set to release a former technician jailed
for 18 years after he exposed the country's covert nuclear weapons
programme, a newspaper has said.
Mordechai Vanunu will be freed in April, but placed under tight
surveillance, the Yediot Ahronot reported on Monday.
Israel's security services would bar Vanunu from giving press
interviews, publishing a book, travelling overseas or within Israel,
and planned to monitor his correspondence, the paper added.
Vanunu would also be required to regularly check in with the police.
The security services claim the tough measures are necessary as
Vanunu has declared his intention in numerous letters to reveal new
secrets about Israel's nuclear weapons programme upon his release.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is due to hold talks with justice
ministry officials before giving the official approval to
the "restrictive measures" to be placed on Vanunu, Yediot Ahronot
Vanunu was jailed in 1986 after he was tried for treason in secret.
He had revealed some details about Israel's illicit nuclear weapons
programme and the role of its Dimona atomic reactor to the Britain's
Sunday Times newspaper.
After the details were published, Vanunu was tricked by Israeli
agents using a "honey trap" - a female agent who asked him to meet
her in Rome - to lure him out of London.
Once in Italy, Vanunu was drugged and kidnapped before being taken to
Despite protests by human rights bodies and anti-nuclear campaigners,
he was sentenced to 18 years in prison and held mostly in solitary
Spy's widow plea
Meanwhile, the widow of Elie Cohen, an Israeli spy hanged in Syria in
1965, has launched a campaign to have his body returned, television
Nadia Cohen is seeking to capitalise on this week's exchange of
prisoners and the remains of bodies between Israel and the Hizb Allah
group, and on recent overtures by Syrian President Bashar al-Asad
towards resuming peace talks with Israel, the report said.
Elie Cohen was born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1924 and moved to Israel
He was recruited by the Jewish state's intelligence service, Mossad,
and tasked with infiltrating the Syrian political elite in the 1960s.
After his cover was broken, he was tried by a military court and
condemned to be hanged in public in Damascus. Syria has since refused
to return his body to Israel.
"Elie paid the price. We paid the price, a very high price," Nadia
Cohen said on television. "The time has now come for the Syrians to
make this gesture, which would reestablish confidence."
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