Nuclear Whistle-blower Vanunu Arrested Over Channel 2 Interview

Channel 2 is meanwhile battling the police who want the full, unedited footage.

Mordechai Vanunu
An archive photo from July 2, 2007, showing nuclear whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court. Eli Tesma / Bau Bau

DPA - Israeli nuclear whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu has again been arrested, with police saying his recent Channel 2 interview  violates the terms of his release from prison.

Vanunu exposed details of Israel's nuclear weapons program to the British media in 1986. He was jailed for 18 years and released in 2004 under strict conditions.

In Israel, many see him as having betrayed the country, but for anti-nuclear activists he is often seen as a hero. Israel does not confirm or deny that it has nuclear weapons.

Channel 2, the television station that aired the interview on September 4, is meanwhile battling the police who want the full, unedited footage.

The station has refused to hand it over, citing the journalistic principle of protection of sources, and is taking the case to court.

The protection "is an important element in the system of rights and freedoms on which a democratic government is based," the station's lawyer said. 

The journalists' union was also outraged, saying the protection of source material was enshrined in case law.

"The police again shows that it does not understand the role of journalism in a democratic society and again does not respect journalistic confidentiality - which applies also to journalists' raw material."