PARIS (Sep. 24)
Msgr. Hillarion Capucci, the former Greek Catholic Bishop of Jerusalem who was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment in Israel for smuggling arms into the country, has been allowed to meet Georges Ibrahim Abdullah, the terrorist leader suspected of having staged the murder of American military attache Lt. Col. Charles Ray and Israeli diplomat Yaakov Barsimantov in 1982.
It is generally believed that the French authorities allowed the visit to try to stop the recent wave of terrorist attacks which killed nine people and wounded more than 160 this month alone.
Capucci, who was sentenced in 1974, met with Abdullah in Paris’ top security prison La Sante where the terrorist is being held incommunicado. Even his lawyers have not been allowed to see him since his transfer to Paris last weekend.
INVITED BY THE FRENCH AUTHORITIES
Premier Jacques Chirac has twice pledged that he will “not yield to terrorist blackmail.” He also said there will be no negotiations with the terrorists and that “those guilty (of the terrorist attacks) and those who manipulate them will be crushed wherever they may be.”
Capucci’s meeting with Abdullah is generally seen, however, as an attempt to reach an agreement with the terrorist gang which has killed nine people and wounded more than 160 since September 4, when it launched its latest series of bomb attacks in Paris.
The French press revealed Wednesday that the former Socialist Administration of Premier Laurent Fabius had also tried to strike a deal with the terrorists. The government of Jacques Chirac was prepared, according to these reports, to go ahead with the plans and release Abdullah.
The plan was foiled last July when the U.S. government and the family of Ray became civil plaintiffs in the case, a procedure preventing the dismissal of the case and Abdullah’s summary liberation.