21:15 GMT28 October 2020
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    Mordechai Vanunu, who revealed in the 1980s that Israel had nuclear weapons, has been convicted again, this time of violating the terms of his release, and now faces additional jail time.

    The former nuclear technician had completed an 18-year jail term for treason and espionage in 2004. Upon his release from Shikma Prison in southern Israel, he was slapped with a long and stringent list of restrictions.

    In 2016 Vanunu was arrested and charged with violating three counts of his release conditions.

    The Jerusalem Magistrate Court announced on Monday that Vanunu was cleared of two of those counts, one of which is related to an interview he gave to an Israeli television channel in 2015.

    However, the whistleblower was found guilty of meeting with two US nationals in east Jerusalem, without first receiving approval from Israeli authorities. Vanunu is barred from meeting foreigners or leaving the country, as Israel fears he will disclose more classified information.

    Vanunu denied that he posed a security risk and said that he only wanted to be free and join his wife, a Norwegian theology professor who lives in Oslo.

    A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for mid-March, according to a court statement.

    The conviction decision dates to mid-January, but was kept under wraps until Monday, an Israeli court spokesman said.

    Vanunu began working at a secret Israeli nuclear facility at Dimona, a city in the Negev desert, in the 1970s. In the mid-1980s he leaked the inner workings of the Dimona plant to the Sunday Times newspaper, which published the photographs he had taken and exposed Israel's nuclear weapons program to the world.

    The whistleblower, who converted from Judaism to Christianity in the 1980s, claims that Israel is particularly harsh on him due to his beliefs. Vanunu spent over 10 years of his original sentence in solitary confinement.    


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