Friday, November 18, 2005

Vanunu arrested at West Bank roadblock

Nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu was arrested by Israeli police today after visiting the West Bank, Jerusalem police said.

The former technician at Israel’s main nuclear reactor last year completed an 18-year prison sentence for revealing Israel’s nuclear capability to a British newspaper in 1986. Based on Vanunu’s evidence, including photos, experts said at the time Israel had the world’s sixth largest stockpile of nuclear weapons.

An Israeli court had ruled in May that an earlier visit by Vanunu to the Palestinian areas did not constitute a violation of his conditions of release, which forbid him from visiting foreign countries.

Today, Vanunu was arrested at a West Bank crossing into Jerusalem as he rode on a Palestinian bus, said police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby. He was arrested because Israelis have been forbidden from entering Palestinian-controlled areas since fighting broke out between the sides in 2000, Ben-Ruby said.

Police were also questioning Vanunu to find out what he was doing in the West Bank, Ben-Ruby said.

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