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Vanunu sentenced to new jail term

2 July 07 12:13 GMT

An Israeli court has sent former nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu back to jail for six months for breaking the conditions of his parole.

Vanunu was released in 2004 after an 18-year sentence for disclosing Israeli nuclear secrets, but he faced curbs including speaking to foreign media.

However, he has given a series of interviews to the international media in the last three years.

Israeli officials insist he still poses a security threat.

An anti-nuclear campaigner, Mr Vanunu denies wanting to divulge more classified information about the Dimona nuclear plant where he worked, saying he only wants to be free to leave Israel.

A Jerusalem regional court convicted Mr Vanunu in April on 14 counts of parole violation, including leaving Israel when he entered Palestinian-controlled territory in the West Bank.

"While returning a man to prison after he served 18 years there does not bring joy to anyone, there was no other choice but to take this step to make clear that the nation will defend its secrets and protect its security," prosecutor Dan Eldad said in a statement.

In addition to the jail term he received a further six-month suspended sentence. He has 45 days to appeal against the ruling.

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