Israel’s Administrative Torture and Lawless Captivity of Vanunu Mordechai

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by Eileen Fleming

 

In an interview Wednesday with Israeli Channel 2 TV News, Israel’s foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman rebuffed suggestions that American and Russian warnings against striking Iran would affect Israeli decision making, stating the decision “is not their business. The security of the citizens of Israel, the future of the state of Israel, this is the Israeli government’s responsibility.”

Also on Wednesday, Israeli Nuclear Whistleblower, Mordechai Vanunu wrote on his Facebook Wall and YouTube Channel:

Feb. 22. No Freedom of Speech, No Freedom of Movement here, 26 year waiting for my Freedom Now!!!! Richard Falk wrote, “We should begin by refusing to use the phrase administrative detention, rechristening it as ‘administrative torture’ or ‘lawless captivity’.vanunuvmjc

 Vanunu, June 2009

Vanunu referred to Saving Khader Adnan’s life and legacy in which Richard Falk also wrote:

 

It is a great relief to those millions around the world who were moved to prayer and action by Khader Adnan’s extraordinary hunger strike of 66 days that has ended due to Israel’s agreement to release him on April 17…

Keeping Mr Adnan alive was also seen by Israelis as a means to avoid a wider scrutiny of the institution and practice of administrative detention as it has been used by the Israeli military “justice” system…

What was entirely missing from the Israeli public discourse was some expression of compassion, even if only for the family of Mr Adnan, which consists of two daughters of four years or younger and his articulate pregnant wife, Randa…

As might be expected, the notorious Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, was characteristically forthright, calling his “release” a “wrong decision” because it is “our duty to honour and respect every Supreme Court decision even when we don’t agree with it”.

Khader Adnan was not released and the Israeli Supreme Court has not made a decision.

Spokesperson for the Netanyahu government, Mark Regev, attempted to deflect criticism of Israel by attempting to make two wrongs a right by noting that other governments use administrative detention in the name of SECURITY, including the United States, and that the “legality” of Israel’s use of administrative detention should not be questioned as it depends on a 1946 law enacted by Britain when they were occupying Palestine.

Those same restrictions were imposed upon Vanunu Mordechai ever since he emerged from 18 years in a windowless tomb sized cell on 21 April 2004, and come from the Emergency Defense Regulations, which were implemented by Britain against Palestinians and Jews after World War II.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1VOB8B3g1o&feature=channel_video_title 21 April 2004 Vanunu released from jail to administrative torture and lawless captivity.]





Attorney Yaccov Shapiro, who later became Israel’s Minister Of Justice, described the Emergency Defense Regulations as “unparalleled in any civilized country: there were no such laws in Nazi Germany.”

Falk concluded Saving Khader Adnan’s life and legacy affirming that it “is crucial to support a campaign to free the other several hundred Palestinians currently being held in administrative detention and to exert enough pressure to end reliance on the practice altogether. Mr Adnan’s brave stand will have been mostly without effect if his compelling exposure of the cruelty and arbitrariness of Israeli reliance on administrative detention is allowed to slip from view now that his strike is over.

“Instead, knowing what we have come to know, it is the responsibility of all of us to do all we can to discredit and force the abandonment of administrative detention by Israel, and challenge its role in the United States and elsewhere. A fitting tribute to Mr Adnan’s hunger strike would be to put opposition to administrative detention on the top of the human rights agenda throughout the world. We should begin by refusing to use the phrase ‘administrative detention’, rechristening it as ‘administrative torture’ or ‘lawless captivity’.”

Another example of Israel’s administrative torture, lawless captivity and terror tactics occurred on 11 November 2004 when Israeli forces invaded St. George’s Cathedral and again arrested Vanunu. What follows are a series of letters which have yet to receive a satisfactory response which would require the freeing of Mordechai.

The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & The Middle East
The Diocese of Jerusalem
The Rt Revd Riah H Abu El-Assal
11 November 2004

To:

  • The Most Revd Rowan Williams Archbishop of Canterbury
  • The Most Revd Frank Tracy Griswold Presiding Bishop of ECUSA
  • The Most Revd Andrew Hutchinson Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada
  • The Most Revd Peter Carnley Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia
  • The Australian Board of Mission
  • The Revd Canon John L. Peterson Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council
  • The Revd Samuel Kobia General Secretary of the World Council of Churches
  • Mr Jeries Saleh Middle East Council of Churches
  • The Heads of Churches in Jerusalem

It is with tremendous grief and sadness that I inform you that the Israeli special police force entered St George’s Cathedral today without permission and took Mordechai Vanunu into custody.

Approximately thirty officers, many with guns, entered the cathedral gardens and interrupted breakfast in the Pilgrim Guest House. It was a traumatic event that terrorized many of our tourists, pilgrims, and staff.

In the 100 years of the cathedral’s history, such an event has never taken place.

Immediately I related how they have come into a sacred place, and that their guns were not welcome. The officers with guns withdrew to outside of the Cathedral Close; however, it came to my attention later, that at least one of the officers still carried a concealed weapon.

This was after I had been reassured that all weapons had been removed from the church grounds. It is inconceivable why such force is mandated for procedures like today’s.

Mordechai was calm during the search, questioning the need for the interrogation, and they searched his room in his and my presence. They took his papers, laptop, and other possessions into custody.

I called his lawyer, and he will meet Mordechai in Petah Tiqva.

This type of entry into a sacred space must not be tolerated by the churches throughout the world, and it must not be accepted by those who respect the rights and dignity of every person. We ask the government of Israel to stop such actions as these, and we call for the respect of sacred places in the Land of the Holy One. It is with extreme sadness and disappointment that I must write this letter, and please continue to pray for us in these difficult times.

Peace of God to all of you,
The Rt Revd Riah Abu El-Assal
Bishop in Jerusalem
cc:

His Excellency, President Moshe Katsav
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
Presiding Bishop responds to Mordechai Vanunu’s arrest
ENS 111104-2

[ENS] Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold has written to Secretary of State Colin Powell and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon citing concerns about today’s arrest of Mordechai Vanunu, who served 18 years in prison for leaking details of Israel’s nuclear program. According to Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal, Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, Israeli special police forcefully entered the grounds of St. George’s Cathedral and took Vanunu into custody. Vanunu was reportedly detained on suspicion of disclosing more state secrets.

The full text of the Presiding Bishop’s letters follow:

November 11, 2004

The Honorable Colin Powell
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Mr. Secretary:

I am writing to you out of grave concern regarding the arrest yesterday on the grounds of the Episcopal Cathedral in Jerusalem of Mordechai Vanunu. Attached is the letter I have just sent to Prime Minister Sharon along with an earlier letter regarding Mr. Vanunu sent in June, as well as a statement from my fellow bishop in Jerusalem, the Right Reverend Riah Abu El-Assal.

This violation of sacred space greatly disrespects our Church’s presence and mission, and it is particularly disturbing that it occurred at this time when restraint on all sides is so desperately needed in the wake of Yasser Arafat’s death. While I am not in a position to comment on the reasons for the arrest, I am told that it was carried out with such a show of force that pilgrims, tourists, and staff were terrorized.

We would greatly appreciate your asking our Embassy to raise our concerns with the Israeli Government.

With prayers and my continuing gratitude for the care and sensitivity with which you represent this great nation of ours, I am,

Yours sincerely,
Frank T. Griswold
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church, USA
November 11, 2004

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
Embassy of Israel
3514 International Drive NW
Washington, DC 20008

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

I write to express my deep dismay at the actions of your government in seizing Mordechai Vanunu, a fellow Anglican, within the precincts of St. George’s Episcopal Cathedral in Jerusalem. I am told that, with guns drawn, Israeli Special Forces invaded this sacred space, terrorizing pilgrims, guests, and staff.

Although this is the first time in the history of the Cathedral that such actions have occurred, we have raised concerns about Israeli military entry into our hospitals in the past, and also about delays in visas for missionary personnel. Our letters of concern have not been answered.

I pray that this very sensitive time of transition following the death of Yasser Arafat may open the way toward the peace so desperately yearned for by Israelis and Palestinians alike.

With my prayer that the peace of God may find a home in the land which the children of Abraham call holy, I am,

Yours sincerely,
Frank T. Griswold
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church, USA
June 17, 2004

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
Embassy of Israel
3514 International Drive NW
Washington, DC 20008

Dear Prime Minister Sharon:

I write to you today on behalf of Mordechai Vanunu, a fellow Anglican who has served 18 years in prison for his revelations of Israel’s nuclear weapons program. My concern is not to argue the merits of his punishment. I am more concerned from a humanitarian view that, having completed his sentence, he now be assured that the conditions placed upon him by your government after his release be lifted.

The restrictions, forbidding contact with foreigners and not being allowed to leave the state of Israel, clearly go beyond the level of his original sentence and impose a hardship that should have ended upon his release. He has served his full sentence, and justice requires that he be allowed to rebuild his life and health having paid his debt under Israeli law.

I urge you to allow Mr. Vanunu his rightful freedom so that he may plan for his future and seek a new life in the place of his choosing. I thank you very much for your thoughtful consideration of this concern. As you know, Mr. Vanunu’s life has been threatened both publicly and privately, and I am also fearful of what reaction might be were these threats to be carried out. At the moment, he is a guest of our Church in Jerusalem, and I ask that you take necessary measures to assure his safety until restrictions on his travel are lifted.

With my prayer that the peace of God may reconcile Israelis and Palestinians and bring healing and a new and hopeful future to all, I am

Yours sincerely,
The Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church, USA

Vanunu’s next historic trial is scheduled for July 2012:

Vanunu’s last historic trial:

BEYOND NUCLEAR: Mordechai Vanunu's Freedom of Speech Trial

The URL for the letters is: www.virtueonline.org

Author Details
Eileen Fleming, A Citizen of CONSCIENCE for House of Representatives 2012 campaign can be followed at EileenFleming.org. Eileen also founded WeAreWideAwake.org, Produced “30 Minutes with Vanunu” and “13 Minutes with Vanunu” and authored “Keep Hope Alive” and “Memoirs of a Nice Irish American ‘Girl’s’ Life in Occupied Territory” and BEYOND NUCLEAR: Mordechai Vanunu’s FREEDOM of SPEECH Trial and My Life as a Muckraker: 2005-2010. Visit Eileen’s YouTube Channel
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