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Israel denies Vanunu travel permission

Israel has prevented a former nuclear whistleblower from receiving an international prize in Germany for work towards promoting disarmament.

Mordechai Vanunu, who revealed details of Israel’s secret weapons program 24 years ago, was to be awarded the Carl von Ossietsky Prize in Berlin on Sunday.

According to a spokesman for the International League for Human Rights, the group has now decided to cancel the ceremony and hold a protest rally on behalf of the former nuclear technician instead, AFP reported.

The League had previously called on Tel Aviv to allow Vanunu to participate in the ceremony and Vanunu’s attorney Michael Sfard had assured Israeli officials that the 56-year old atomic technician was willing to commit himself to returning to Israel following the ceremony in Berlin.

Vanunu was convicted of treason and spent 18 years in jail after disclosing the inner workings of Israel’s Dimona nuclear plant to the Sunday Times newspaper in 1986 backed up by two rolls of film he had taken of the plant.

He was released in 2004 but was banned from travel and giving interviews to foreign media without prior permission.

Estimated to have more than 200 nuclear warheads, Israel still refuses to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and does not allow the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to visit its nuclear sites.

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