A Congress member from New York is spearheading a campaign calling on the French government to not release a convicted terrorist who was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of an American and an Israeli diplomat. U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) has organized a bipartisan letter urging French officials to stop the release of George Ibrahim Abdallah, the former head of the Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Brigade who was convicted in 1987 for killing an Israeli diplomat and a U.S. military attaché. He was also found guilty for the attempted murder of a U.S. Consul General.
Abdallah was arrested in 1984 and sentenced to life in prison in 1987 for the 1982 murder of Lieutenant Colonel Charles R. Ray, who was an assistant US military attaché, and the attempted assassination of American consul in Strasbourg, Robert O. Homme.
On April 4, 1982, Abdallah murdered Israeli diplomat Yaakov Bar-Simantov outside his home in Paris. Bar-Simantov, 42, was second secretary in charge of political affairs at the Israel Embassy in Paris.
A French appeals court recently granted conditional release to Abdallah contingent on his being deported to Lebanon. But the decision of deportation rests with the French Foreign Ministry. Therefore, the French government has the power to ensure that Abdallah is neither released nor returned to Lebanon. Meng sent the letter, signed by 21 representatives, onto France's ambassador in the U.S.
“As we continue to grieve the loss of Ambassador Stevens, 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’s life sentence was necessary when given in 1987, and recent events have reaffirmed the appropriateness of this sentence. 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. Abdallah must remain locked-up for the rest of his life.”