Lebanese protest at US embassy for prisoner's release

Published Friday, December 28, 2012

Around 100 demonstrators called for the release of a former Lebanese communist fighter from French jail outside the US embassy in Awkar Friday.

They were protesting an appeal by French prosecutors last month of a Paris court’s decision to grant parole to Georges Ibrahim Abdallah.

“We demand that the Lebanese government propose a resolution against the French government at the (UN) Human Rights Council denouncing the arbitrary detention of Abdallah,” Hassan Sabra, an activist with the International Campaign for the Release of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, said in a speech outside the embassy.

Abdallah has been in French prison for 28 years over involvement in the 1982 killings of a US military officer and an Israeli diplomat. He was handed a life sentence in 1987, but has been eligible for parole since 1999.

He was last granted parole in 2003, but the decision was overturned in a similar appeal.

The United States issued a statement condemning the November 21 decision to grant Abdallah parole, and for years has put pressure on France to prevent his release.

Abdallah’s brother, Joseph, said he and others have recently scheduled a meeting with Adnan Mansour, Lebanon’s foreign minister, to discuss the issue.

Hezbollah Minister Mohammed Fneish on Thursday urged the Lebanese Cabinet during a meeting with the president, prime minister and speaker of parliament to pressure France to reject the appeal, media reported.

Lebanon’s President Michel Sleiman had reportedly raised the issue during a visit by French President Francois Hollande in Beirut last month.

A verdict on the appeal is due for 10 January 2013. If the appeal fails to renew Abdullah’s detention, he is expected to be deported from France within three days.

(Al-Akhbar)

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