State of Israel
Ministry of Justice
The Department for International Agreements and International Litigation
1. Mr. Mordechai Vanunu was prosecuted and convicted of transmission of secret information with the intent to harm state security, collecting secret information with the intent to harm state security and of aiding the enemy during a state of war. In 1986, he was sentenced to 18 years of imprisonment. Mr. Vanunu was released from prison on April 21, 2004, under certain limitations.
2. These limitations include a 6 months order (extended for three additional 6 months periods) issued by the Head of the Home Front Command, subjecting Mr. Vanunu to the Israeli Police supervision and limiting his freedom of movement ("Limitation and Supervision Order"). Mr. Vanunu is obligated to inform the police of any change in residency and overnight stay. In addition, Mr. Vanunu is also not allowed within a 500 meter range of international borders, border passages, harbors and airports. Additionally, Mr. Vanunu is prohibited from entering diplomatic missions without permission, having contacts or exchange of information with foreign citizens or residents, as well as chats on the internet. Note that Mr. Vanunu can have contact with foreign citizens or residents, pre-approved by the State, has filed such requests, and most of them were approved.
3. Another order, issued by the Minister of the Interior, prohibits Mr. Vanunu from leaving Israel for a 12 months period subsequent to his release, and was also extended for an additional year.
4. These limitations were the subject of Mr. Vanunu’s petition to the High Court of Justice, requesting the Court to cancel the abovementioned orders (HCJ 5211/04 Mordechai Vanunu V. The Minister of Interior). Mr. Vanunu’s main argument concerned the validity of legislative basis sanctioning these orders, requesting the court to determine that the Defence Regulations (State of Emergency), 1945 and Article 6 of the State of Emergency Regulations (Departure abroad), 1948, are void.
5. The Court rejected Mr. Vanunu’s arguments, and ruled that the Defence Regulations are a primary mandatory legislation, which became a part of Israeli law upon the establishment of the State of Israel.
6. The Court accepted the State’s evaluation that Mr. Vanunu is likely to reveal additional secret information, not previously published, thus further harming Israel’s security interests.
7. The Court acknowledged that Mr. Vanunu has repeatedly stated in various communications found in his prison cell that his long imprisonment did not subdue or lessen his will and intent to expose and publish confidential material regarding his classified work. Furthermore, the Court quoted from letters written by Mr. Vanunu while in prison stating his willingness and desire to "work for foreign intelligence agencies". Mr. Vanunu has actually prepared a number of notebooks with detailed sketches and charts, including exhaustive records of structures, devices, methods and procedures he became familiar with during his work, all of which constitute confidential material, which in the opinion of the Court, Mr. Vanunu wishes to publish.
8. On November 11, 2004, Mr. Vanunu was arrested for suspicion of transmission of secret information and violation of a legal order. After a Court hearing, he was released to a full house arrest, pending the next court hearing.
9. Subsequently, on March 17, 2005, an indictment was files against Mr. Vanunu for 19 incidents of violation of the legal order limiting his movements (C.C. 1934/05). This case is scheduled for court hearings on January 2006.
10. Note that on July 3, 2005, Mr. Vanunu has filed another petition to the High Court of Justice (HCJ 6358/05) against the above orders; this case is still pending.
11. Recently, on November 18, Mr. Vanunu was apprehended by boarder police officers in the A-Ram crossings near Jerusalem, trying to cross from Israel to the West Bank. This, in violation of the above Limitation and Supervision Order. Subsequently, on December 1, 2005, the Commander of the IDF forces in the West Bank issued a 6 months order prohibiting Mr. Vanunu from entering and residing in the West Bank.