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Court Orders Prison Officials to Lift Punishment Imposed on Vanunu

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A Jerusalem District Court ordered the authorities at Ramle prison Monday to lift the punishment imposed on Mordechai Vanunu, the former technician at the Dimona nuclear facility currently on trial for passing secret information to a British newspaper.

Judge Zvi Cohen instructed the authorities to return Vanunu’s Walkman radio and his books. They were confiscated after Vanunu managed to flash a message to reporters alleging that he had been kidnapped in Rome by Israeli agents on September 30. The message, printed in ink on the palm of his hand, was displayed to reporters when he was driven to court last month to be remanded in custody for the duration of his trial.

Judge Cohen, hearing an appeal by Vanunu’s attorney, ruled that the prison authorities acted beyond their responsibilities by confiscating the radio and books. But he upheld their decision not to allow the prisoner newspapers.

He also dismissed Vanunu’s complaint that parts of two letters he wrote to persons abroad were deleted by the prison censors. Cohen said the deleted portions contained information from closed sessions of the court and were therefore subject to censorship.

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