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Keep Lebanese terrorist in prison, U.S. lawmakers urge France

JTA

January 28, 2013 | 2:28 pm

Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Factions activist George Ibrahim Abdallah escorted by a French Gendarme as he leaves Lyon courthouse, July 10, 1986. Abdallah who is serving a life sentence for the assasination of U.S. and Israeli officials in 1982 was granted conditional release by a Paris appeal court Jan 10. Photo by Robert Pratta/REUTERS/File

Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Factions activist George Ibrahim Abdallah escorted by a French Gendarme as he leaves Lyon courthouse, July 10, 1986. Abdallah who is serving a life sentence for the assasination of U.S. and Israeli officials in 1982 was granted conditional release by a Paris appeal court Jan 10. Photo by Robert Pratta/REUTERS/File

A bipartisan congressional effort is aiming to keep the former head of the Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Brigade behind bars in France.

Twenty members of Congress, led by U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), signed a letter to France’s ambassador to the United States, Francois Delattre, calling on French officials to stop the release of George Ibrahim Abdallah, who was convicted in 1987 of killing U.S. military attache Charles Ray and Israeli diplomat Yacov Barsimantov. Abdallah also was found guilty of the attempted murder of U.S. consul general Robert Homme in 1984.

Abdallah is serving a life sentence in prison, but a French appeals court this month gave a conditional release provided that he is deported to Lebanon. However, the French government still has the right to keep Abdallah behind bars, according to Meng.

The U.S. government also opposes Abdallah’s release.

“We cannot stand idly by while an ally frees the murderer of another American in diplomatic service,” Meng said in a statement. “Abdallah could very well resume his acts of terror and target citizens of France, the United States and other allied nations.”

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