09/11/2015, 00.00
ISRAEL
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Former Israeli nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu under house arrest for giving an interview

Since he broke the terms of his release in 2004 after purging an 18-year sentence, he will spend the next seven days at home. The 60-year-old convert to Christianity also wants to join his new Norwegian wife.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews/Agencies) – An Israeli court sentenced former nuclear technician and whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu to a week of house arrest for giving a TV interview.

The 60-year-old Christian convert was released in 2004 after completing an 18-year jail term for threatening national security.

Army radio said he was arrested yesterday morning after an interview on privately owned Channel 2 last week in defiance of the terms of his 2004 release.

In addition to placing him under seven days' house arrest, he was barred from using the Internet.

Vanunu, a former technician at the Negev Nuclear Research Centre in Dimona, was arrested in 1988 on charges of high treason and espionage, after he disclosed details about the facility to the Sunday Times in 1986. He has consistently denied the charges, but spent 18 years in prison, 12 of which in solitary confinement.

After he converted to Christianity and took the name John Crossman, Vanunu married theologian Kristin Joachimsen last May. The couple exchanged vows at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem. His wife is a professor at the School of Theology in Oslo.

Despite his release more than a decade ago, Vanunu is under several restrictions. In addition to a ban on foreign travel, Vanunu has to inform the authorities 48 hours in advance if he wants to leave home. He is allowed to talk with foreigners, but only one person at a time, for no more than 30 minutes at a time, and in a public place.

In the interview, whose content was cleared for broadcast by the military censor according to Channel 2, Vanunu said he longer has any secrets to spill and just wants to join his bride in Norway. The two got married three months ago.

"She is the wage-earner; she is the one who is working. She can't live here," Vanunu said. "I want to start living my life."

Israel is the Middle East's only known, albeit undeclared nuclear power. So far, it has refused to confirm or deny that it has such weapons, or how many.

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

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