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Nuclear spy wanted to expose Israel’s program

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JERUSALEM, Nov. 24 (JTA) — Israel has allowed the publication of previously secret court documents from the trial of convicted nuclear spy Mordechai Vanunu.

During his closed-door treason trial, Vanunu said he had exposed the secrets of Israel’s nuclear program to force the government to bring it under closer scrutiny, according to documents published by the Israeli daily Yediot Achronot.

Vanunu has served 13 years of an 18-year sentence for disclosing Israel’s nuclear weapons capabilities to The Sunday Times of London.

The trial was held behind closed doors, and Yediot’s publication of the court records provided more details into the case.

Among the published documents were the testimonies of Vanunu, the Shin Bet domestic security service investigators who questioned him and then- Prime Minister Shimon Peres, who in 1986 ordered that Vanunu be arrested abroad and brought back to Israel to stand trial.

Vanunu, a technician employed at Israel’s nuclear facility at Dimona, was lured from London to Rome in 1986 and kidnapped by Israeli agents, who then brought him to Israel.

Peres was quoted as saying in the court records that the October 1986 publication of Vanunu’s disclosures by The Sunday Times had spurred hostile countries to try to “even the balance” with Israel.

On Wednesday, Peres said he is concerned the publication of the court documents could lead to new international pressure on Israel to come clean about its nuclear arsenal.

The Jewish state has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.

“The whole Vanunu affair makes my blood boil,” Peres told Israel Radio on Wednesday. “”One day a man gets up in the morning and decides what is good for the country. Does he carry the responsibility?”

Vanunu was sentenced in 1986 to 18 years in prison, most of which he has served in solitary confinement at the Ashkelon jail.

He was recently allowed to spend time with other prisoners during daytime hours.

His lawyer, Avigdor Feldman, said Wednesday that whenever Vanunu is released he would continue his campaign against nuclear weapons.

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