The International Campaign for the Release of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah was notified on Wednesday that the French court of cassation rejected Abdallah’s ninth request for release after 30 years in French prisons.
The campaign carried out a sit-in in front of the French embassy in Beirut in conjunction with the announcement of the verdict against the political prisoner.
Commenting on the decision, Bassam al-Kantar, a member of the international campaign said that “this decision was not issued by the French court, however it was announced by the Federation of Jewish organizations in France, known as the CRIF (Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions) which had issued in the past month a series of brazen statements dictating what the French court ought to do.”
“While the American embassy in Paris remains silent on George Abdallah’s case, unlike previous years, it is quite clear that the dirty job to oppose any attempt to release George Abdallah by the French court, has been entrusted to the CRIF,” Kantar added.
Abdallah, the longest serving political prisoner in a European prison, was granted parole on November, 21 2012, but the prosecution appealed the decision, and France has come under mounting pressure from the US and Israel to block his release.
France’s interior minister Manuel Valls refused to sign Abdallah’s extradition order on the morning of his anticipated release in January, prompting protests and sit-ins at French centers across Lebanon.
Abdallah was sentenced to twenty years to life over his alleged involvement in the murder of two diplomats, an assistant to an American military and an Israeli in 1982. The court was not able to present concrete evidence against him, and he was imprisoned for passport fraud.
France’s court of cassation, its highest court of appeals, ruled against his release on grounds that Abdallah’s extradition would not allow for a one-year, electronically monitored parole period, compulsory for life-sentence convicts appealing for parole. His deportation from the country was ruled a necessary condition for his release.
The document detailing the court’s deliberations and ruling made no reference to the crime in question as justification for his continued imprisonment.
The campaign had declared in October of last year that since Abdallah was released by a French appeals court, he has become nothing more than a hostage, illegally held by the Socialist government, which has done all it can to get around an undisputed court order to release him after having completed his sentence.
A number of French parliamentarians had also joined the chorus of protests by sending President Francois Hollande a letter calling for Abdallah’s release “no matter the foreign pressures,” in reference to American efforts to prevent his release.
After Wednesday’s announcement, the campaign advocating for Abdallah’s release vowed to escalate measures and said it would stage another sit-in in front of the US embassy in Awkar next Sunday (November 9) at noon.
“This decision will not discourage us, but on the contrary, we are more determined to continue the fight until the end,” Kantar pledged. “This is just the beginning.The French ambassador in Beirut will hear our chants wherever he goes,” he vowed.