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Brother of Accused Israeli Traitor Says He Hopes For Fair Trial With PM-Israel-Vanunu

November 10, 1986

MEDFORD, Mass. (AP) _ The brother of Mordechai Vanunu, who allegedly leaked Israeli nuclear weapons secrets to the media, says the former atomic technician betrayed Israel but should not be denied his rights.

Israel on Sunday announced that Vanunu, 32, was in detention and would be tried, but denied that agents kidnapped him in England to bring him to justice.

The announcement ended lengthy speculation about Vanunu’s whereabouts. He disappeared in London nearly six weeks ago, shortly before the Sunday Times of London published photographs and information he reportedly supplied about an Israeli nuclear weapons plant.

″I appreciate the fact that Israel gave this announcement. I am happy to hear he is alive,″ Meir Vanunu said in a telephone interview Sunday.

″I had a few suspicions he might not be alive. Some countries do not hesitate to kill these kind of people,″ said Vanunu, 30, who is living in the Boston area while visiting from Israel.

″Though he was a traitor, and in Israel they see this in a very hard way, still, as a human being he deserves to get basic human rights in general,″ said the Hebrew University law school graduate.

He said it was ″very hard″ for his brother ″because he’s totally alone in Israel in the prison. ... I don’t think he knows about the Times article.″

Meir Vanunu’s last contact with his brother was a letter he received a few days before the man vanished Sept. 30. The letter said his brother had contacted the Sunday Times.

Meir Vanunu said the government’s announcement Sunday seemed to prove his brother’s story about a secret underground nuclear weapons complex.

Asked if portrayals of his brother in the world press as unstable were accurate, he said, ″I’m not a psychologist, so I don’t know what ‘unstable’ means. I know he thought about what he was doing.″

When Mordechai Vanunu converted from Judaism to Christianity in Australia, it ″was not a total surprise,″ his brother said, describing him as ″someone trying to learn about life in many ways.″

Meir Vanunu said his elder brother studied philosphy and theology in Israel, and stayed in a Buddhist monastery in the Far East during a break from working as a nuclear technician.

Mordechai Vanunu joined the Communist Party in Israel and supported the Palestine Liberation Organization, his brother said.

″My family is worried about his legal rights and we’re expecting a Western Bloc country like Israel to provide human rights,″ he said. ″We expect they will respect that.″

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