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Congresswoman wants Abdallah jailed for life

  • Lebanese anti-riot policemen secure the area in front of the French embassy during a protest demanding the release of Lebanese leftist militant George Abdallah, who has been imprisoned in France for almost 30 years, in Beirut January 28, 2013. The French government postponed the trial for the release of Abdallah till February 28. REUTERS/Sharif Karim (LEBANON - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)

NEW YORK: A U.S. congresswoman urged France Monday not to release George Abdallah, despite his being granted parole after nearly three decades behind bars.

U.S. Representative Grace Meng said she would draw up a bipartisan letter with other members of Congress calling on France to scrap the possible release of Abdallah.

“We cannot stand idly by while an ally frees the murderer of another American in diplomatic service,” said Meng, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Abdallah was jailed for life in 1987 after being convicted in the 1982 murders of American Lt. Col. Charles Robert Ray and Israeli diplomat Yacov Bar-Simantov

However, a French court last year granted parole for Abdallah, provided he was deported back to his home country. The court then postponed a final decision, drawing ire from Lebanon.

Abdallah, jailed for nearly three decades, has been eligible for parole since 1999, but seven previous applications were all rejected.

Meng said that the life sentence was “necessary.”

“If released to Lebanon, Abdallah could very well resume his acts of terror, and target citizens of France, the United States, and other allied nations. We must stand firm and united against the threat of terrorism. Abdullah must remain locked-up for the rest of his life,” she said.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 29, 2013, on page 4.
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