France rejects 9th appeal to release Lebanese prisoner Georges Abdallah
Protesters call for the release of Georges Abdallah in front of the French embassy in Beirut, Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015. (The Daily Star/Khalil Hassan)

France rejects 9th appeal to release Lebanese prisoner Georges Abdallah

France Thursday rejected the ninth appeal for the release of Lebanese leftist prisoner Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, enraging his supporters who railed against the French government in a protest outside Paris’ mission in Beirut.

Abdallah was arrested in Lyon in October 1984 and condemned three years later to life in prison for alleged involvement in the killing of an Israeli diplomat and an American military attaché in Paris in 1982.

He should have been freed in 1999 by virtue of France’s penal code, but Paris has rejected nine appeals for his release. His ninth appeal was rejected in November 2014, but it was put up for review, and the final decision was made Thursday.

Dozen of Abdallah’s supporters and family members were gathered in front of the French Embassy in Beirut when the decision of a French appellate court was announced.

Blocking the roads linking Sodeco Square to the Museum roundabout, the protesters held pictures of Abdallah and shouted slogans condemning France’s relentless pursuit to keep him locked up.

Bassam Kantar, a spokesperson for the campaign defending Abdallah, denounced the French government outside the embassy, promising to escalate protests to target “French interests in Lebanon.”

The campaigners had been trying to meet with Prime Minister Tammam Salam over the matter, but had so far failed to get an appointment, Kantar said.

He called on Lebanon’s authorities to demand that Abdallah arrives back in Lebanon on the same plane that will carry the replacement of French Ambassador Patrice Paoli, whose term is set to end soon.

Abdallah’s supporters have been holding a series of unannounced protest over the past week to pressure the Lebanese and French government into taking action.

In 2013, French courts accepted a request to release Abdallah, and within the 24-hour deadline, no appeals were made. His supporters in Lebanon were preparing his reception and the date of his return was set.

But then-Interior Minister of France Manuel Valls denied the deportation order, days after a U.S. official voiced objection to the release.
– See more at: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2015/Feb-26/288881-france-rejects-9th-appeal-to-release-lebanese-prisoner-georges-abdallah.ashx#sthash.t6uqHvl2.dpuf

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