Georges Abdallah files new appeal for release as campaign for his freedom escalates

Georges Abdallah, the Lebanese Arab Communist and struggler for Palestine imprisoned in France since 1984, has filed a new request for his release before the sentencing judge in Paris. Eligible for release since 1999, he has already made eight requests for parole, some of which have been accepted judicially before being blocked by politcal decisions of French officials as well as a range of legal technicalities in the courts.

On 21 November 2012, and on appeal in January 2013, the Sentence Enforcement Court granted Georges Abdallah’s conditional release, and his return to Lebanon was widely anticipated and announced by the Lebanese government and media, as well as broader Arab media. The U.S. government declared its opposition to his release, and in the leaked database of Hillary Clinton’s emails — then the U.S. Secretary of State — provided to Wikileaks, an email from Clinton to Laurent Fabius declared that “we hope that the French officials will find another basis to challenge the legality of the decision,” expressing the U.S.’ desire to see Georges Abdallah remain behind bars.

Next, French Minister of the Interior Manuel Valls refused to sign the expulsion order necessary for Georges Abdallah’s conditional release to Lebanon. Thereafter, on 4 April 2013, the release decision was judged “inadmissible” by the Court of Cassation — simply by Valls refusing to sign the order necessary for his return to Lebanon to proceed.

On Thursday, 8 June 2023, Georges Abdallah’s lawyer Jean-Louis Chalanset filed a new request for his release on parole and return to Lebanon. On this occasion, it is more important than ever to intensify the mobilization for the release of Georges Abdallah, so that one of the longest-held political prisoners in Europe can finally return, in freedom, to his country, Lebanon.

Indeed, Georges Abdallah has become a symbol of state repression and the complicity of French governments, across party lines, with the Israeli occupation and U.S. imperialism. There are several upcoming events and calls to action for the liberation of Georges Abdallah. The Unitary Campaign for the Release of Georges Abdallah is organizing a demonstration in Paris on 18 June, endorsed by the Collectif Palestine Vaincra and Samidoun Paris Banlieue and dozens of organizations, as part of a week of action. The demonstration will take place at 2 pm at Metro Menilmontant.

Thanks to the work of Collectif 65 for the release of Georges Abdallah and the determination of France Insoumise parliamentarian Sylvie Ferrer, 28 parliamentarians from the NUPES bloc published a joint statement calling for the release of Georges Abdallah. They note, “Under French law, Georges Ibrahim Abdallah has been eligible for release since 1999. Yet he is still imprisoned, while justice has pronounced for his release! This makes Georges Ibrahim Abdallah the longest serving political prisoner in a French prison, and with the exception of Italy, probably in Europe.”

The Collectif Palestine Vaincra — a member organization of the Samidoun Network — has engaged in multiple interventions about the case at several large activities bringing together hundreds of people, including the Resistance Festival in Brussels, the Dissidentes Festival in Switzerland and the rally on the Glières plateau . During this last initiative, an intervention by Georges Abdallah was read, emphasizing his loyalty to his resolutely anti-imperialist commitments. Unsurprisingly, such participation provoked a wave of slander from supporters of the Israeli occupation, from Renaissance MP Antoine Armand to LICRA, which was firmly condemned by the organizers of the event.

At the same time, the Unitary Campaign for the Liberation of Georges Abdallah in Île-de-France organized various initiatives, in particular a rally near the Ministry of Justice bringing together several dozen people on 1 June. Samidoun Paris Banlieue participated in many activities for Georges Abdallah’s release, in particular by holding a stand during a concert organized by the Action Antifasciste Paris Banlieue at the Word Errante on June 3rd. bringing together more than 1,000 people in tribute to Clément Méric as well as a visible presence at the demonstration the next day.

Support or Georges Abdallah was also visible in multiple international actions, including in the Basque Country, Liege, Vancouver, Lausanne and Boston. As Georges Abdallah has been imprisoned for almost 39 years, we must develop and intensify the campaign for his release! The Collectif Palestine Vaincra offers materials for campaign activities, such as stickersflyers and flags. Please contact us if you are organizing an event or activity, including a demonstration, lecture or a screening of “Fedayin: Georges Abdallah’s Fight.”