Vanunu writes to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee: 'I cannot be part of a list of laureates that includes Shimon Peres'

East Jerusalem, March 1, 2009 - Mordechai Vanunu wrote the Nobel Peace Prize Committee in Oslo:

"I am Vanunu Mordechai, who has been nominated several times to Nobel Peace Prize, also this year’s 2009 award.

I am asking the committee to remove my name from the list for this year’s list of nominations.

My main reason for this is that I cannot be part of a list of laureates that includes Simon Peres. He is the man who was behind all the Israeli atomic policy.

Peres established and developed the atomic weapon program in Dimona in Israel. Exactly like Dr. Khan did in Pakistan, Peres was the man behind the atomic weapon proliferation to South Africa and other states. He was also, for instance, behind the nuclear weapon test in South Africa in 1978.

Peres was the man who ordered the kidnapping of me in Italy Rome, Sept. 30, 1986, and for the secret trial and sentencing of me as a spy and traitor for 18 years in isolation in prison in Israel.

Until now he continues to oppose my freedom and release, in spite of my serving full sentence 18 years.

From all these reasons I don’t want be nominated and will not accept this nomination.

I say No to any nomination as long as I am not free, that is, as long as I am still forced to be in Israel.

What I want is freedom and only freedom."
(The Peoples Voice)

Mordechai Vanunu (Hebrew: מרדכי ואנונו‎), born in Marrakech, Morocco on 14 October, 1954 is an Israeli former nuclear technician who revealed details of Israel's nuclear weapons program to the British press in 1986.

The Israeli government decided to detain Vanunu, but determined that to avoid harming its good relationship with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and not to risk confrontation with British Intelligence, Vanunu should be persuaded to leave UK territory under his own volition. Masquerading as an American tourist called "Cindy", Israeli Mossad agent Cheryl Bentov befriended Vanunu, and on 30 September persuaded him to fly to Rome with her on a holiday. Once in Rome, Mossad agents illegally drugged and carried him to Israel on a freighter, beginning what was to be more than a decade of solitary confinement in Israeli prisons.

Vanunu revealed details of his detention by writing on his hand: "Vanunu M was hijacked in Rome. ITL. 30.9.86, 21:00. Came to Rome by fly BA504."

Mordechai Vanunu spent 18 years in prison, including more than 11 years in solitary confinement. Vanunu was released from prison in 2004, subject to a broad array of restrictions on his speech and movement.

On Jan. 25, 2006, Vanunu's Freedom of Speech trial began in Israel. He says he has been persecuted by the authorities in Israel because of his conversion to Christianity, saying "I want to tell those who say I am a traitor, I suffered here 18 years because I am a Christian."

In July 2007, Vanunu was sentenced to 6 months in jail for speaking to foreigners in 2004, who happened to be media. The sentence was considered unusual even by the prosecution who expected a suspended sentence. In response, Amnesty International issued a press release on 2 July, 2007, stating that "The organisation considers Mordechai Vanunu to be a prisoner of conscience and calls for his immediate and unconditional release."

Vanunu has been characterized by some as a whistleblower and by others as a traitor. He is considered by many Europeans as a 'hero of the nuclear age' and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize every year from 1988 to 2004.