France postpones hearing over Georges Abdallah release, again
Supporters of George Abdallah protest in front of the French embassy in Beirut on Jan. 14, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

France postpones hearing over Georges Abdallah release, again

A French court on Thursday postponed for the second time a hearing to discuss the parole of jailed Lebanese Marxist Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, more than six weeks after he was due to be released from a 28-year incarceration.

The court now says it will hear the case on March 21.

Activists in Lebanon have called for a gathering outside the French embassy in Beirut on Sunday to demonstrate against the newest delay, accusing France of succumbing to US and Israeli pressure to keep Abdallah behind bars.

“The procrastination and delays by the French authorities … to release Georges Abdallah prove the policy of state reprisal,” read a statement by the International Campaign for the Release of Georges Abdallah.

Abdallah’s supporters had rallied for his release outside France’s cultural centers across Lebanon on Thursday ahead of the hearing.

Abdallah, 61, was due to be released on January 14 after serving 28 years in French prison over his alleged involvement in the 1984 killings an American military office and an Israeli diplomat.

A court granted Abdallah parole on 21 November 2012 in a ruling that was upheld only days before his scheduled release.

But France’s interior minister refused to sign Abdallah’s extradition order to repatriate him to Lebanon on the morning of his anticipated release, prompting protests and sit-ins at French cultural centers across the country.

A January 28 court hearing to review the case had been postponed until today.

Abdallah was last granted parole in 2003, but an appeal struck down the decision.

The United States had called on France as recently as last month to block the release, saying that Abdallah continues to pose a threat.

Source: Al-Akhbar

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