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Israeli Sirens Drown Out a Handcuffed Vanunu

September 01, 1987|United Press International

JERUSALEM — Former Israeli nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu, in handcuffs and forced to wear a motorcycle helmet, struggled with his Israeli guards Monday as he entered a courthouse for the second day of his treason and espionage trial.

On the way into the building, Vanunu removed the helmet and, in an apparent bid to communicate with reporters outside the court, started shouting. Police turned on sirens to drown out Vanunu's words, state-run Israel radio said.

Once the closed trial got under way, the three-judge panel heard four prosecution witnesses, all senior Israeli security officials, testify about Israel's nuclear policy and the alleged damage caused by Vanunu's revelations to a British newspaper last year.

Prosecuting attorney Uzi Hasson is trying to prove that Vanunu, 33, disclosed state secrets to the Sunday Times of London for profit after losing his job at the Dimona nuclear plant in the Negev desert.

Civil rights lawyer Avigdor Feldman, who is defending Vanunu, said his client acted only out of moral indignation. He described as "paranoid" the way Israeli authorities are treating Vanunu.

Sunday Times reporter Peter Hounam, a key defense witness, denied that the interview with Vanunu about Israel's arms industry was intended to harm Israeli security.

Vanunu, who faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment if found guilty, pleaded with his judges to loosen security and treat him like "any other prisoner." The bench hearing the case rejected the request, the radio said.

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