Was Meant as Abdallah Trade--Ex-Hostage
A former French hostage in Lebanon testified today that his captors said they wanted to trade him for a Lebanese militant who is on trial on charges of complicity in the assassinations of American and Israeli diplomats in France.
Former French Embassy Cultural Attache Sidney Peyrolles, abducted in March, 1985, and freed in the following April, identified two of his kidnapers as the brothers of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, the Lebanese militant on trial in the assassinations.
Peyrolles said the kidnapers, including Robert and Maurice Abdallah, told him that they wanted to exchange him for a man identified as “a big fish” in their operation, Abul Kabar Saadi. Georges Abdallah carried a passport issued to Abdelkader Saadi when he was arrested in France in 1984.
Abdallah, 35, is on trial for complicity in the 1982 assassinations of U.S. military attache Col. Charles Robert Ray and Israeli diplomat Yacov Barsimantov, as well as the 1984 attempted killing of the U.S. consul to the eastern city of Strasbourg, Robert Onan Homme.
Abdallah has denied involvement in the attacks and is refusing to attend the trial.
Peyrolles testified that his captors mentioned the three attacks as well as the attempted killing in November, 1981, of the deputy minister to the U.S. mission in Paris, Christian Chapman.
It is widely believed in France that the previous Socialist administration in France in 1985 had agreed to charge Abdallah on a lesser charge of possession of false documents in exchange for Peyrolles’ release in Lebanon.
Abdallah’s release was demanded by terrorists who staged a series of bomb attacks in Paris from December, 1985, to September, 1986, that killed 13 people and wounded more than 250.
Peyrolles was freed but Abdallah remained in jail when French police found the gun used in the Ray and Barsimantov killings in an apartment where he had lived.