French court rules Lebanese left-winger Abdallah must stay in jail
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A French court on Thursday rejected for the ninth time a request for the release of Lebanese pro-Palestinian left-winger, Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, who was jailed in France for 30 years for killing an Israeli and an American diplomat in Paris in 1982.
A French appeals court said yesterday that without a deportation order the 62-year-old former head of the Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Factions will remain behind bars.
The court also added as a factor in its judgement that Abdallah showed no regret for his crimes of the early 1980s and had paid no compensation to the families of his victims.
In 1987 he was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of US military attaché Charles Robert Ray and Israeli diplomat Yacov Barsimantov.
Abdallah, a left-winger of Maronite Christian origin who espoused the Palestinian cause and fought in Lebanon’s civil war, has appealed for his release nine times.
A favourable judgement in 2012 was overturned by the country’s highest appeal court because current Prime Minister Manual Valls, who was interior minister at the time, refused to sign a deportation order.
Bassam Kantar, a spokesperson for the campaign defending Abdallah in Beirut, said the court’s judgement was a farce.
“I think anything related to regret after 30 years in prison is ridiculous,” he told RFI. “This has no authorisation or basis in any legal system. I’m not a lawyer but I know very well that when the judge speaks about regret he’s speaking about the political situation not legislation.”
Abdallah’s lawyer Jean Louis Chalanset also told RFI that demanding a deportation order blurs the separation between judicial and executive powers.
While many have branded Abdallah a dangerous terrorist, others like Kantar say he represents a revolutionary of decades past.
“He is from an era that should not be forgotten,” he told RFI. “An era when many Lebanese and Palestinian fighters considered that they should continue their fight against the Israeli occupation for the country outside the territories. All the fighters from this era were all released.”
Last week about 50 of Abdallah’s relatives and friends picketed the French embassy in Beirut in support for his bid for freedom.
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