U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) announced Sunday that she has spearheaded a bipartisan letter calling on the French government to cancel plans to release a convicted terrorist who was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of an American and an Israeli diplomat.
The letter, which was sent to France’s Ambassador to the United States, urges French officials to stop the release of George Ibrahim Abdallah, the former head of the Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Brigade who was convicted in 1987 of killing an Israeli diplomat and a U.S. military attaché. The U.S. State Department has also expressed its opposition to Abdallah’s release.
“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. Abdullah must remain locked-up for the rest of his life.”
The letter’s signatories include: Meng, Frank Wolf (R-VA), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Henry Waxman (D-CA), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Steve Israel (D-NY), Gerald Connolly (D-VA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Juan Vargas (D-CA), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Randy Weber (R-TX), Steven Palazzo (R-MS), Ken Calvert (R-CA), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Lois Frankel (D-FL).
Below is the letter in full:
Dear Ambassador Delattre:
We urge the French government not to release George Ibrahim Abdallah, a convicted terrorist who was justly sentenced to life in prison for the murder of an American and an Israeli diplomat.
Abdallah is the former head of the Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Brigade, and is responsible for the 1982 murders of U.S. military attaché Charles Ray and Israeli diplomat Yacov Barsimantov in France, as well as the attempted murder of U.S. Consul General Robert Homme in 1984. For these crimes, he was justly sentenced to life imprisonment in 1987.
Now, however, we understand that a French appeals court has granted Abdallah conditional release, contingent on his being deported to Lebanon. The decision of deportation rests with the French Foreign Ministry; your government has the power to ensure that this terrorist is neither released nor returned to Lebanon.
There can be no compromise with terror, as both our nations have been recently and painfully reminded in North Africa. If Abdallah is released, he could very well resume his acts of terror, and could very well target citizens of France, the United States, and other allied nations. We must stand firm and united against the threat of terrorism. Please ensure that George Ibrahim Abdallah remains in prison for life.
Thank you for your consideration of this request.