The French ambassador to Lebanon announced Tuesday that no definitive decision has been taken yet on the liberation of leftist Lebanese militant Georges Abdallah.
“A decision has been issued by the sentence enforcement court, but there are still more decisions to be made,” Patrice Paoli said after a meeting with Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour, the NNA reported.
Paoli added that Abdallah’s release depended on the interaction between judicial and executive powers in France.
Abdallah was due to be released Monday after 28 years spent in prison in France over his alleged involvement in the murder of two diplomats from the United States and Israel in 1982.
However, French Interior Minister Manuel Valls refused to sign an expulsion order, a necessary condition for Abdallah’s release.
The reason behind Valls’ decision is as of yet unclear. However, in a 2011 interview on Radio Judaica Strasbourg, Valls assured that he was “linked in an eternal way to the Jewish community and Israel,” casting doubts over his impartiality in Abdallah’s case. Israel and the US have strongly pressured France to keep Abdallah in jail during each of his eight applications for parole.
French officials are now scheduled to meet on January 28 to formalize Abdallah’s parole, but his supporters fear the postponement is a first step to renew his detention.
“We are hopeful, but we don’t know what will happen,” George’s brother Robert Abdallah said. “This case is outside of the judicial realm and is now a political issue.”
Robert Abdallah is a correspondent for Al-Akhbar in North Lebanon.
Demonstrators set camp in front of the French embassy on Monday, and have vowed to launch an open-ended sit-in to protest the continued Abdallah’s continued imprisonment.