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Former Israeli Nuclear Technician Vanunu Released from Prison - 2004-04-21

Former Israeli nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu was released from prison Wednesday after serving 18 years for disclosing Israel's nuclear weapons secrets. He says he is proud of what he has done and has nothing more to disclose. Vanunu also complained of harsh treatment by his jailers.

Mordechai Vanunu emerged from prison flashing victory signs and waving to a crowd of cheering supporters who waited to greet him.

In a live broadcast, carried worldwide, he explained that he had disclosed secrets about his country's nuclear program because of his opposition to weapons of mass destruction.

At the same time, he insisted that he had nothing else to tell.

"I am Mordechai Vanunu," he said. "I am proud and happy to do what I did. I am very happy that I succeeded to do what I did. I do not have any secrets. There is no more any secrets."

Vanunu was convicted of treason for giving information to Britain's Sunday Times newspaper in 1986 and he spent 18 years in Israel's Ashkelon prison, south of Tel Aviv.

The article published by the newspaper led to the conclusion that Israel had developed a nuclear arsenal at its secret Dimona plant, in the southern Negev area of Israel, where Vanunu had been employed.

After his release Wednesday, Vanunu immediately demanded that Israel open its nuclear site at Dimona to international inspection.

Vanunu was lured from London to Rome, where he was kidnapped by Israeli agents and smuggled back to Israel to face a secret trial that lead to his conviction and prison sentence.

After he was released, he complained of what he called cruel and barbaric treatment during his incarceration.

Vanunu says he now wants to move to the United States, find a wife and spend of the rest of his years studying and teaching history.

However, Israel has barred him from leaving the country for one year, and this restriction may be renewed.