US objects to French court decision to release Lebanese man
The United States objects to French court’s decision to free Lebanese national George Ibrahim Abdallah, convicted of alleged killing of American and Israeli diplomats.
A French appeal court on Thursday gave Abdallah conditional release provided that he would be deported to Lebanon.
The move, however, irked the US administration, with State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland saying, “We don’t think he should be released and we are continuing our consultations with the French government about it.”
Abdallah has been in French custody since 1984 over his alleged role in the 1982 killing of US military attaché Charles Ray and Israeli diplomat Yacov Barsimantov in Paris, and also, what has been described as, attempted murder of US Consul General Robert Homme in Strasbourg in 1984.
The French court sentenced the Abdallah, the former head of the Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Brigade, to life in prison in 1984.
A lower court decided to release him on parole in November. The decision led to harsh criticism from the US ambassador to France, who said that Abdallah should stay in prison until the end of his life. The prosecutors appealed the court decision.
The appeal court, however, refused prosecutors’ call that alleged Abdallah was still a threat.
Abdallah won conditional release in 2003. However, the decision was delayed on appeal.