French prosecutors appeal parole for Lebanese militant

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 21, 2012 4:59 PM
French prosecutors appeal parole for Lebanese militant

PARIS (Reuters) - French prosecutors said on Wednesday they were appealing a Paris court's decision to grant parole to a Lebanese far-left militant jailed for attacks on U.S. and Israeli diplomats in France in the early 1980s.

The court's decision to give parole to Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, a former head of the Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Brigade, triggered a firm rebuke from the U.S. ambassador to France, who said he deserved life imprisonment.

Abdallah, who has been in prison since 1984, cannot be released before the appeal is considered, which could take several months, the prosecutor's office said.

The reason behind the court's decision to grant parole was not known.

Abdallah was given a life sentence in 1987 for his role in the murders of U.S. diplomat Charles Ray in Paris and Israeli diplomat Yacov Barsimantov in 1982, and the attempted murder of U.S. Consul General Robert Homme in Strasbourg in 1984.

In a statement, U.S. Ambassador to France Charles Rivkin said: "There is legitimate concern that Mr. Abdallah would continue to represent a danger to the international community if he were allowed to go free."

"I am hopeful that French authorities will appeal today's decision and that it will be overturned," he added.

Abdallah was granted parole in 2003 but the decision was annulled in an appeal.

(Reporting by Thierry Leveque; Writing by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Sophie Hares)