French authorities have approved the release a Lebanese man involved in the murder an Israeli diplomat and an American military officer in the 1980s.
Georges Abdallah, 61, was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 for his role in the 1982 murders in Paris of U.S. military attache Charles Ray and Israeli diplomat Yacov Barsimantov, as well as the attempted murder of U.S. Consul General Robert Homme in Strasbourg in 1984.
A parole board agreed to his release on condition that he is expelled from France by Jan. 14 and deported to Lebanon, AFP reported on Thursday.
Abdullah, former head of the Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Brigade, was first eligible for parole in 1999, but has failed in seven previous bids to be released.
The United States objected to the decision, expressing hope that French authorities would appeal the release.
“I am disappointed by the decision today,” U.S. ambassador to France, Charles Rivkin, said in a statement.” Life imprisonment was the appropriate sentence for Mr Abdallah’s serious crimes, and there is legitimate concern that Mr. Abdallah would continue to represent a danger to the international community if he were allowed to go free.”
"We don't think he should be released and we are continuing our consultations with the French government about it," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters. "We have serious concerns that he could return to the battlefield."