November 6, 2014 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 5874

Hizbullah-Affiliated Lebanese Daily 'Al-Akhbar' Calls For Kidnapping French Nationals In Order to Exchange Them For Lebanese Terrorist George 'Abdallah, Imprisoned In France

November 6, 2014
Lebanon | Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 5874

Georges Ibrahim 'Abdallah is a Lebanese national who is serving a life-sentence in France for the murder of two diplomats and the attempted murder of a third. On November 6, 2014, the day after a French court denied his ninth request for parole, the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, which is close to Hizbullah, published two articles in which it called to kidnap French nationals in order to bargain for his release. The first article, by the chairman of Al-Akhbar's board of directors, Ibrahim Al-Amin, called for this implicitly and promised to kiss the hands of whoever carried out such a deed. The second, by Bassam Al-Quntar, the brother of Lebanese terrorist Samir Al-Quntar,[1] explicitly called to kidnap a French diplomat in order to bring about 'Abdallah's release.

'Abdallah was convicted in 1987 of murdering assistant U.S. military attaché Charles R. Ray and Israeli diplomat Yaakov Bar-Simantov in Paris, and of involvement in the attempted assassination of the U.S. consul in Strasbourg, Robert O. Homme. In 1999, a court denied his first request for release on the grounds that he had never expressed remorse for his crimes and may return to terrorism. In 2012, the court granted him parole on the condition that he be deported from France. However, the French interior minister refused to sign the deportation order, some say as a result of American pressure. Supporters of Abdallah in France and Lebanon held rallies, demonstrations and press conferences demanding his release, but on November 5, 2014 the French court refused his latest parole request.

The following are translated excerpts from the two articles in Al-Akhbar:

Georges Ibrahim 'Abdallah (image:

'Al-Akhbar' Board Chairman Ibrahim Al-Amin: Prisoner Exchange Is The Way To Release 'Abdallah

"...Many people today like to use the term '[prisoners] exchange.' This is the magic solution for the crisis of the [Lebanese] soldiers who were kidnapped by terrorists [i.e., by Jabhat Al-Nusra and ISIS] in Jroud Arsal [on the Lebanon-Syria border]. All the Lebanese forces, without exception, agree that a prisoner swap is legitimate and desirable if it benefits [these] hostages.

"Today we face [another] blatant kidnapping, but this time the kidnapper is France and the hostage is the fighter Georges Ibrahim 'Abdallah. We haven't heard anyone in France objecting [to his continued imprisonment] – not its MPs, not the majority of its political forces, and not its elites, academics or journalists. On the contrary, we have heard only [statements] justifying [the actions of] its (very independent) government, security forces and judiciary. The result is a formal decision to continue denying 'Abdallah's freedom [by keeping him] in the prisons of French terrorism.

"The meaning of this is that, from this day forward, we no longer need [to rely on] sit-ins, conferences or courts. Simply put, we need a [prisoner] exchange that will bring about his release. Therefore, we say from now on that we will kiss the hands that arrange such an exchange, [which will come about] when Allah wills it."

Brother Of Samir Al-Quntar: Kidnapping A French Diplomat – The Only Way To Guarantee 'Abdallah's Release

Bassam Al-Quntar, the brother of Samir Al-Quntar, called explicitly to kidnap a French diplomat. In his article, he mentioned Gilles Sidney Peyroles, the director of the French Cultural Center in Tripoli, Lebanon, who was kidnapped by the Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Factions in 1985 but subsequently released. Al-Quntar claimed that the kidnappers had meant to exchange Peyroles for 'Abdallah, and added: "The [French] court has failed in its duty to guarantee 'Abdallah's release. France thereby conveyed a message yesterday that the abduction of another Peyroles is the only way to secure 'Abdallah's freedom."




[1] Samir Al-Quntar was involved in a 1979 terror attack in the Israeli city of Nahariya in which civilians and policemen were killed. He was sentenced to five life-sentences plus 47 years in prison, but was released in 2008, along with four other prisoners, as part of a deal between Israel and Hizbullah, in return for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers that had been kidnapped by Hizbullah two years earlier.

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