By: Bassam Alkantar
Published Wednesday, December 19, 2012
This Thursday, 20 December 2012, all eyes will be on Paris in anticipation of the final ruling in the case of Lebanese political prisoner Georges Ibrahim Abdallah. The court of conditional release will rule on the appeal made by the public prosecutor against the decision to release Abdallah.
Abdallah has been imprisoned in France since 1984. During that period, Aballah was a member of the Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Factions, a group that was implicated in the assassination of the US military attaché in Paris and an Israeli diplomat.
In a recent letter from prison, Abdallah said that he had expected “a more dignified position” from French Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira, “but these are the facts and, as usual, she is obstinate.”
The campaign calling for the release of Abdallah is becoming more vocal. Recently, a remarkable stand was taken by the president of the lawyers’ union in Beirut, Nihad Jabr, who had just returned from Paris. Robert Abdallah, the prisoner’s brother, said that a delegation from the international campaign to release Abdallah visited Jabr at the union headquarters in Beirut to thank him for raising the matter with a number of French officials.
Jabr revealed to the delegation that he was optimistic that Abdallah would be released and had heard positive talk on this matter from the ex-ambassador of France to Lebanon, Denis Pietton, who is currently the director of the office of foreign minister, Laurent Fabius.
On the French justice ministry’s decision to appeal the decision to release Abdallah, Jabr said that he had “raised the matter with minister Taubira, and she was not aware of the developments in the case.” He pointed out that “the public prosecution’s decision to appeal is a matter of routine. Unlike many others, I am optimistic that Abdallah will be released soon.”
Jabr told the delegation that he had also brought up the case with a French judicial delegation visiting Lebanon. He added: “I discovered that the French judge heading the delegation was aware of Abdallah’s case and he promised me that he will follow up on it.”
This flurry of French visits to Beirut has included two French MPs, Alain Marsaud and Serge Janquin, both of whom are working on a report on the situation in Lebanon for the French parliament. The two parliamentarians met with Prime Minister Najib Mikati and the head of the committee for foreign affairs Abdul Latif al-Zein.
Abdallah’s brother pointed out Marsaud’s historic links to Georges’ case. He is the one who established and ran the central anti-terrorism agency at the public prosecutor’s office in Paris. He personally supervised Abdallah’s interrogation. He is also the one who wrote in his 2002 book, Before We Forget It All, “Georges Abdallah was sentenced for something he did not do. Abdallah’s case was fabricated.”
Abdallah’s brother asks: “Did any Lebanese officials discuss Georges’ case when they met the two French MPs? Did any propose that their report should convey the feeling in Lebanon that this citizen has suffered injustice and the frustration at the French prosecution’s objection to the latest ruling by the French judiciary to release him? Did they try to take advantage of Marsaud’s position and confessions?”
The Struggle Goes On
Two days ago, Georges Abdallah wrote in a letter: “By their very nature, the years of imprisonment are long and heavy on the heart. So how do you think I feel as I near the end of a third decade behind these abominable bars? Despite that, I can say, boldly and without any equivocation: The struggle goes on.”
He added: “Nine years after ex-justice minister [Dominique] Perben took his position, we now have minister [Christiane] Taubira acting in a similar way…It is unfortunate that she is following in his path…When an issue is linked to the wishes of the American State Department, talk of the independence of the bourgeois judiciary rings hollow.”
He concluded: “Down with imperialism, its Zionist guard dogs and tyrannical Arab collaborators.”
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.