By André Moncourt
At the end of a month-long international campaign for the release of Georges Abdallah, a large demonstration will be held on October 23 in front of the Lannemezan prison in the South of France, where he is incarcerated. October 24 it will be 37 years that he has been in prison in France. He is the longest serving political prisoner in Europe. In the run up to the demonstration an appeal has been published on Mediapart this Friday, signed by politicians, lawyers, artists, intellectuals like Angela Davis, Noam Chomsky and Etienne Balibar and hundreds of individual people and organizations across the globe:
Release Georges Abdallah: a demand for justice!
Georges Ibrahim Abdallah is a Lebanese communist of Maronite Christian origin, imprisoned in France for almost 37 years. Why? How is a Lebanese man arrested in 1984 in Lyon still in French prisons despite the fact that he has been eligible for release for 22 years?As a teacher in northern Lebanon in the 1970s, Georges Abdallah worked with the Palestinian people and against colonization. He left his region as a young man to join the mobilization against the Israeli occupation, especially during the invasions of 1978 and 1982, while Lebanon was in themidst of war. The repeated Israeli military operations were devastating and murderous for the Palestinian and Lebanese populations. Israeli army bombings claimed thousands of civilian lives and the brutality reached its peak in the now infamous massacres of the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in September 1982.In this context, Georges Abdallah co-founded the Lebanese Revolutionary Armed Fraction (FARL) which claimed responsibility for several operations on French soil, including the executions in 1982 of Yacov Barsimentov and Charles Ray, active Mossad and CIA agents. Arrested in Lyon on October 24, 1984, Georges Abdallah was sentenced to life imprisonment for complicity in the assassinations, following a politically motivated trial riddled with irregularities. As an example, let us note the case of his first lawyer, Jean-Paul Mazurier, who was later revealed to have been an employee of one of the French intelligence services. And above all the ludicrous accusations (officially disclaimed some time later) against the Abdallah brothers, insinuating their responsibility in the attacks at the Rue de Rennes in Paris in 1986. The attacks were used to make a scapegoat out of Georges Abdallah, as the politicians and media of the time were looking for the culprits of the bloody attacks that made the headlines.
While the prosecutor requested a 10-year prison sentence, Georges Abdallah was sentenced to life imprisonment. State of emergency justice running at full speed.According to French law, George Abdallah has been eligible for parole since 1999. He made eight requests for release, but without success. In 2013, the detention judge granted his release on the condition that he be deported to Lebanon. Manuel Valls, then Minister of the Interior, refused to sign the deportation order. The reason? Georges Abdallah refuses to repent. The French state has continued its relentless pursuit, and Georges Abdallah remained in prison.In March 2020, Georges Abdallah received for the third time the visit of Mr Rami Adwan, Ambassador of Lebanon to France, this time accompanied by Ms Marie-Claude Najm, Minister of Justice of the Lebanese government at the time. During this meeting, they reaffirmed the support of the Lebanese state for the release of Georges Abdallah. The mobilization for his liberation hasbeen developing in France for more than 15 years alongside that in Lebanon, where his family and much support await him. In Palestine, he is considered as one of the 4,650 Palestinian prisoners, and support for his case is growing in dozens of countries around the world.On October 24, 2021, Georges Abdallah will have spent 37 years in French prisons. He has become the longest-held political prisoner in Europe. The day before, October 23, hundreds will march to make our voices heard and demand his release in front of Lannemezan prison where he is locked up.Today, calling for his release is a simple demand for justice!Free Georges Abdallah!