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Dutch Businessman Defends Nuclear Exports To Pakistan

In 1983, Khan was convicted in absentia to four years' jail for stealing secrets relating to uranium enrichment while working at Urenco, a Dutch enrichment facility.

The Hague (AFP) Nov 07, 2005
A Dutch businessman and friend of the father of Pakistan's atomic bomb has admitted he shipped equipment used for uranium enrichment to Pakistan, according to Dutch public television.

But Henk Slebos, who befriended Abdul Qadeer Khan when they were students at Delft in western Holland in the 1960s, denied the exports were illegal, said the producers of a documentary to be broadcast Monday night.

Slebos, charged with an employee over the illegal export between 1999 and 2002 of parts for a nuclear centrifuge, faces an 18-month jail sentence and a 100,000-euro fine (120,000 dollars).

Dutch prosecutors on Friday also requested Slebos's two companies be fined 250,000 euros (295,000 dollars).

Slebos denies the shipments were illegal. The court verdict is due on November 18.

"Who defines this illegality? The countries that have nuclear arms, therefore the United States," Slebos is quoted telling the television program.

The businessman said he used a network comprising "hundreds of European enterprises" for the shipments and also discussed his friendship with Khan.

In 1983, Khan was convicted in absentia to four years' jail for stealing secrets relating to uranium enrichment while working at Urenco, a Dutch enrichment facility.

The verdict was overturned two years later on a technicality and the Dutch government declined to pursue the matter.

Dutch and American intelligence services were aware of Khan's activities, Slebos told the programme.

In January 2004, Khan admitted passing on nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea, and was quickly pardoned by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.

In August, former Dutch prime minister Ruud Lubbers admitted the Netherlands twice allowed the Pakistani scientist to leave the country, in 1975 and 1986.

The decision to drop the court case was made on the basis of advice from the United States CIA spy agency, he said.

A former CIA agent, Richard Barlow, told the programme the US did little to prevent Pakistan, a key US ally after the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, establishing a nuclear programme.

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US To Remove 200 Tonnes Of Highly Enriched Uranium From US Weapons Stockpile
Washington (AFP) Nov 07, 2005
US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said Monday that up to 200 tonnes of highly enriched uranium would be removed from the US weapons stockpile to prepare the material for use in the navy, space programs and civilian sectors.

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