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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 December, 2004, 10:32 GMT
Vanunu elected university rector
Mordechai Vanunu on release from prison
Vanunu was released in April from an 18-year prison term for treason
A former technician who was jailed for 18 years for leaking Israel's nuclear secrets has been elected rector of Glasgow University.

Mordechai Vanunu, 50, will hold the post for three years.

Students said they voted for him to show their support for human rights and opposition to nuclear weapons.

Previous incumbents include Winnie Mandela, Benjamin Disraeli and TV presenter Johnny Ball. The current rector is comedian Greg Hemphill.

The position of rector only exists at Scotland's four "ancient" universities.

The person in the post is elected by students to represent them in a number of ways, which can include chairing the University Court.

The rector's participation in events is entirely voluntary, depending on their own availability and choice.

The Israeli government cannot ignore this very clear election by the students
Mordechai Vanunu

Mr Vanunu was jailed for revealing details of Israel's nuclear arms programme.

Under the terms of his release, he is forbidden from leaving Israel, meeting foreigners and revealing secrets about the Dimona nuclear plant.

Mr Vanunu said: "I was very happy, glad and surprised that they wanted to give me this job. I will do all that I can to serve the students and the people of Scotland too.

"At the moment I cannot leave the country but I believe this vote by the students will give a push to the Israeli government to make a good decision and let me come to the students in Scotland."

He added: "The Israeli government cannot ignore this very clear election by the students. I am a man who is coming to support peace, not a man who is an enemy - or fighting - the government.

"They see they cannot stop me or withhold my freedom of speech. I am just a man who wants the abolition of nuclear weapons."

The principal of Glasgow University, Sir Muir Russell, said: "The election of Mr Vanunu demonstrates the diverse and international concerns of Glasgow students.

"It is our hope that he will be able to support the student body in the way that they desire."

Vanunu arrested by Israeli police
11 Nov 04 |  Middle East
Bishop 'angry' over Vanunu arrest
11 Nov 04 |  Middle East
Vanunu ordered to stay in Israel
26 Jul 04 |  Middle East
Vanunu 'wanted to avert holocaust'
29 May 04 |  Middle East

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