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Last Updated: Monday, 21 March, 2005, 13:24 GMT
N Zealand 'should take in Vanunu'
Mordechai Vanunu on release from prison
Vanunu has tested the authorities since his release with regular press interviews
New Zealand's Green Party has called for former Israeli nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu to be offered a New Zealand passport.

Party spokesman Keith Locke proposed the offer in recognition of Vanunu's continued "persecution" in Israel.

Israeli-New Zealand relations have suffered in recent years over the trial of two alleged Israeli spies.

Vanunu was charged in Israel last week with violating the terms of his release from jail last year.

Vanunu served 18 years in jail, most of it in solitary confinement, for disclosing details of Israel's nuclear programme. He was released in April under strict conditions.

Israeli officials say they are not aware of any plans to take him into custody. The New Zealand government has not yet commented on the Green Party request.

Under the terms of his release, Vanunu is not allowed to leave Israel.

'Deserving of passport'

Mr Locke, Green Party spokesman on foreign affairs said: "We tell the Israeli authorities we were dead against them getting fraudulent passports, but Mr Vanunu is one prominent Israeli who does deserve."

Uriel Zosha Kelman and Eli Cara in court in Auckland
The Israelis pleaded guilty but denied they were Mossad agents

In September 2004, two suspected Israeli spies were deported from New Zealand after they finished jail terms for illegally trying to obtain a passport.

Uriel Kelman and Eli Cara got six-month sentences in July, but denied working for Israeli intelligence agency Mossad.

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark severed all high-level diplomatic relations with Israel, demanding an apology before they could be restored.

The Israeli government has never commented on the men's status.


SEE ALSO:
NZ deports Israeli 'spies'
29 Sep 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Vanunu charged for media contacts
17 Mar 05 |  Middle East
Police keep Vanunu in Jerusalem
25 Dec 04 |  Middle East
Vanunu 'wanted to avert holocaust'
29 May 04 |  Middle East
Vanunu: Israel's nuclear telltale
20 Apr 04 |  Middle East
Vanunu ordered to stay in Israel
26 Jul 04 |  Middle East


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