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Paris delays decision on Lebanese release

PARIS: A French court has postponed its decision until Jan. 28 on whether to release a pro-Palestinian Lebanese militant who has spent 28 years in jail,
a judicial source said yester-
The court has already signalled that it favors freeing Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, the 61-year-old former head of the Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Faction (LARF).
But do to so it first needs the interior ministry to deliver an order to expel him from French territory.
That order had not arrived by yesterday, the source said, adding that the court had postponed its decision until the end of the month.
Abdallah was granted parole in November on condition of his deportation but was not released pending a decision on an appeal by prosecutors. An interim court ruling last week also backed his release.
He was arrested in 1984 and sentenced to life in prison three years later for his involvement in the 1982 murders of US military attache Charles Robert Ray and Israeli diplomat Yacov Barsimantov in Paris.
Abdallah had been eligible for parole from 1999 onwards but failed in seven previous bids to be released.
US Ambassador to France Charles Rivkin criticized the decision to grant him parole, arguing that Abdallah had never expressed remorse and could yet be a threat if released.
After the initial parole ruling in November, dozens of protesters gathered outside the French embassy in Beirut demanding Abdallah’s release.
During a visit to France last year, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati also called for Abdallah to be freed, calling him a “political prisoner.”