H.E. Daniel Shek - Ambassador of Israel
3 Rue Rabelais
Fax : 01 40 76 55 55 -
Saintes, 19 May 2010
Subject: Freedom for Mr Mordechai Vanunu and Mr Salah Hamouri
A letter to President Sarkozy (English version) with a list of signatories
Although we received no answers to our past letters on the same subject to your predecessors - 11 October 2002, 16 September and 14 October 2004, 5 April and 30 May 2006 - and to yourself on 25 April 2008, we wish again to draw your attention and (through you) your government’s attention to the fate of Mr Mordechai Vanunu.
In 1986, Mr Vanunu, an Israeli citizen, was abducted in Rome by Mossad and taken to Israel by force. He was then brought before a non-public tribunal, without any real opportunity to defend himself, and was condemned to 18 years imprisonment on a charge of treason, because he had given to the British Sunday Times the proof that Israel had secretly acquired nuclear weapons.
After serving his time, including 11 years in solitary confinement, Mr Vanunu was freed in 2004, yet was still deprived of some of his civil rights and fundamental rights, including the right to move freely and the right to have contacts with foreigners. For exercising this latter right, we now hear that he will have to return to prison on 23 May and spend three months in detention.
This new imprisonment damages the reputation of Israel, a state that boasts of being a democracy. What would you think if an Iranian citizen, today, were to provide a Western newspaper, at great risk, with evidence that the Islamic Republic of Iran had acquired nuclear weapons? Would you judge him a traitor to his country or a whistle-blower serving the good of humankind? As a criminal or as « one of the Just »? Would you congratulate the Iranian Army if they shut him away of 18 years? And then what if, after he had served his time, the regime then imposed a new sentence on him by depriving him of his rights, by forbidding him to leave his country, by throwing him into prison again? Would you view that as a proof of democratic processes and of the independence of Iran’s judiciary?
Please, Mr Ambassador, inform your government that the iniquitous treatment given to Mordechai Vanunu - like the treatment given to Mr Salah Hamouri, the victim of an equally astounding conviction and an imprisonment which bears some similarity to that of Gilad Shalit, does no credit to Israel but on the contrary alienates even more of international opinion, and French opinion in particular, by discrediting it as a democratic state. Please note also that international opinion no longer tolerates the arrogance of states that threaten others with nuclear weapons, be they France, Israel or any other, as can be seen in the international signatures to the attached letter addressed to President Sarkozy.
The only thing Mr Vanunu did wrong was to anticipate this revolt of consciences by a quarter of a century. Israel rightly honours the "Just" who risked their life or freedom to oppose a crime against humanity. But it is a crime against humanity to use weapons of mass destruction against any population; and failure to denounce such a crime, as Mordechai Vanunu did, when one knows it is being planned, is complicity in crime. For that he has paid very dearly. And now enough is enough. Give him his freedom,
If Israel’s government persists in seeing Mordechai Vanunu as a citizen unworthy of Israeli nationality, it ought to revoke his nationality and expel him from the country. Mr Vanunu asks for nothing else.
Please, Mr Ambassador, accept our indignant salutations,
Jean-Marie Matagne, president
Catherine Moreau, secretary