France delays releasing killer of envoys

Jan. 14, 2013 at 10:39 AM

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- A Lebanese politician lashed out at France Monday for delaying the deportation of a man convicted in the deaths of two diplomats in Paris in 1982.

Lebanese Communist Party chief Khaled Hadadeh said French officials had "politicized" the deportation of George Abdallah, who was ordered released by a French court last week, The (Beirut) Daily Star reported.

Abdallah, a leftist militant, was convicted in 1984 of killing Israeli diplomat Yaakov Bar Simantov and American military attache Lt. Col. Charles Ray. He completed his minimum sentence in 1999 and a court last week ordered his releases on condition he be deported.

Abdallah's deportation hearing was set to begin Monday, but French officials said it had been delayed until Jan. 28.

"This proves Abdallah's case has been politicized," Hadadeh said. "They have been using the judiciary to hide the political reasons behind keeping Abdallah imprisoned. But now, as there is no longer judicial justifications for his imprisonment, politicians are starting direct interference."

The U.S. ambassador to France last week publicly opposed Abdallah's release.

Hadadeh also was critical of the Lebanese government for not pressing for the Lebanese national's release.

He said supporters of Abdallah planned protests outside the French embassy in Beirut.

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