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US rep opposes French release of Lebanon militant

A US congresswoman on Monday urged France not to release a Lebanese militant jailed in connection with the murder of a US military attache in Paris, despite his being granted parole after nearly three decades behind bars.

US Representative Grace Meng said she would draw up a bipartisan letter with other members of Congress calling on France to scrap the possible release of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah.

"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.

Abadallah was jailed for life in 1987 after being convicted in the 1982 murders of military attache Charles Robert Ray and Israeli diplomat Yacov Barsimantov.

However, a French court last year granted parole for the former head of the Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Faction (LARF), provided he was deported back to his home country. The court then postponed a final decision, drawing ire from Lebanon.

Abdallah, jailed for nearly three decades, has been eligible for parole since 1999, but seven previous applications were all rejected.

Meng said the life sentence was "necessary."

"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. Abdullah must remain locked-up for the rest of his life," she said.

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