Terrorist or freedom fighter? The infamous Georges Abdallah returns to Lebanon
Former Marxist rebel Georges Ibrahim Abdallah is expected to be released from a French prison in the coming hours and repatriated to his native Lebanon where crowds of supporters are due to greet him.
Details over the time of his release and arrival back to Lebanon following his 28-year incarceration remain unknown, but his parole granted by a French court in November, and upheld on Thursday, requires that he be deported by January 14.
His lawyer Jacques Verges told Lebanese daily L’Orient-Le Jour in remarks published Monday that it was very unlikely, but not impossible, that Abdallah’s release encounter last minute objections.
French officials will meet Monday to formalize his parole and ask the interior minister to sign off on the release.
Abdallah, 61, was granted parole on 21 November 2012. Prosecutors in December appealed the decision, but the ruling was upheld in court on Thursday despite US and Israeli pressure to keep him locked up.
He has been in prison since 1984 over involvement in the killings two years earlier of an American military officer and an Israeli diplomat. He was handed a life sentence in 1987, but has been eligible for parole since 1999.
He was last granted parole in 2003, but a similar appeal struck down the decision.
The United States as recently as Friday renewed its calls for France to block the release, saying that Abdallah continues to pose a threat.
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