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Vanunu - great political battle in Norway - a lawyers appeal

 Vanunu - great political battle in Norway - a lawyers appeal 

William R. Polk

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fax: +33-493 24 08 77

Begin forwarded message:

From: "Fredrik S. Heffermehl"
Date: May 15, 2008 5:36:40 PM GMT+02:00
To: Mailing List IALANA and progressive European lawyers
Subject: Vanunu - great political battle in Norway - a lawyers appeal -

Oslo, May 15, 2008

Dear colleague,

In the last 6 weeks there has been a tremendous interest in Norway for the
liberation of Mordechai Vanunu, Israel´s nuclear hostage. The media have
given extensive and sympathetic coverage, and the cabinet obviously is
under strong pressure to stop ignoring the many calls for action in the matter.

The launch of the Lawyers´ appeal yesterday was a media success. An
editorial in a main Oslo paper today, said that the pressure on the cabinet
is building and called the lawyer´s appeal a very heavyweight contribution.
Earlier appeals for a strong Norwegian intervention to protect Vanunu´s security
and human rights have been made by the 2005 congress of all Trade Unions,
a month ago by the Council of Norwegian Bishops. Generally there is both a
strong feeling of sorrow and indignation in Norway about the plight of Vanunu.

A translation into English of the lawyers´ appeal is attached. In Norwegian
you will find it on the web with the lists of signatories, at this address:

You may not be able to decipher all the titles in Norwegian. A delicate point is
that the petition has been signed by 2 Judges of the Supreme Court. Further,
the signatories include around 20-25 "professors dr. of law" and a very solid
list of over 60 lawyers involved in foreigners law, immigration, asylum and
refugee law, human rights and international law. This just is not something to
be ignored - the petition makes it clear that legal formalities and the arguments
used by several Norwegian governments as a fig leaf to excuse inaction, are
clearly untenable law. The point is that the fact that MV is in his "home country"
iss no bar to granting him asylum and a Norwegian passport and protection.

In the final paragraph, the petition lays out a three-point action plan on how to
come to the rescue of Mordechai - if the political will is there. It further makes
the point that under international law any country is entitled to grant asylum
and issue a passport for a foreigner in need of protection on humanitarian
grounds, even those under foreign jurisdiction. I hope this could be used by
colleagues and peace movements in many countries to approach their gvmts.

The support for Mordechai in the Norwegian media and the general public is
enormous - I should wish you could have read the main editorial in Dagsavisen
to create the political will also in the cabinet (The interesting position is that
there is an internal split in the three-partite cabinet between the two junior
partners and the main party (Labor) and also within the ranks of Labor itself).

Our foreign minister (Labor) still sticks to a standard statement "Israel is
a rule of law democracy and Norway will not wish to interfere in the
operation of Israeli justice". I have again and again said that he is giving
an answer to a question that has not been asked, what we are demanding
is that Norway intervenes forcefully in an individual case where it is clear
for everyone to see that Israel is violating the principles of law and
democracy. We hope the cabinet of Norway will in discrete forms convince
colleagues in Israel that the 60 years anniversary is a good occasion for
Israel to appear as a state under the rule of law by releasing Mordechai.

Fredrik S. Heffermehl

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