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France Offering Reward for Auto Chief's Killers

November 20, 1986|From Times Wire Services

PARIS — The Interior Ministry said Wednesday it will offer a reward of about $150,000 for information leading to the arrests of the killers of the chairman of the state-owned auto maker, Renault.

Georges Besse, 58, was shot to death Monday night at point-blank range by one of two young women who ambushed him on the sidewalk as he arrived home from work. The women escaped on foot.

The leftist terror group Direct Action claimed responsibility for the assassination in leaflets that were discovered in a subway station near Besse's home and showed the group's slogan and five-pointed star emblem.

The ministry said posters bearing photographs and names of presumed leaders of Direct Action will soon be distributed to public places in France offering the reward of 1 million francs, the equivalent of about $150,000.

Among the photographs on the posters will be those of two presumed women members of Direct Action, Nathalie Menigon and Joelle Aubron.

Appeal to Public

Interior Minister Charles Pasqua called on the French people to "collaborate with the police" in the investigation of Besse's death.

"We would like the French people to help us in this affair" by turning over information they might have on suspected Direct Action members sought by police, Pasqua told reporters.

"We are going to use all the means at our disposal to find and punish the assassins," Pasqua said.

The government used the same tactic--putting up posters and offering a reward--in September when five terrorist bombings in Paris killed 11 people and wounded more than 150 others.

The terrorists sought the release of three jailed Arabs, including Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, who was charged Wednesday with complicity in a third shooting, that of the American consul in Strasbourg in 1984, judicial sources said.

Serving 4-Year Term

Abdallah, presumed leader of the Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Faction who is serving a four-year sentence for illegal arms possession, has already been charged with complicity in the 1982 Paris killings of Israeli diplomat Yaacov Barsimentov and U.S. diplomat Charles Ray.

Abdallah has not yet been tried on these charges, and no trial date has been set.

U.S. Consul Robert Homme was shot and wounded in Strasbourg on March 26, 1984, by two motorcyclists, in an attack for which the Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Faction claimed responsibility.

None of the suspected Lebanese terrorists in the September attacks who were pictured in the wanted posters were captured, and the reward has gone unclaimed.

Responding to the government's effort to apprehend Besse's killers, a noted civil rights lawyer, Denis Langlois, said he disagreed with the distribution of photos of people who may or may not be involved in crime.

Government Move Criticized

"To paste on the walls pictures of people only suspected of terrorist activities is a grave attack to the democratic principles of the presumption of innocence," Langlois said.

Direct Action and West Germany's urban terror group, the Red Army Faction, are believed to have links. The two groups pledged in 1985 to work jointly against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and other so-called representatives of "capitalist imperialism."

Direct Action has killed two leading French figures and attempted to kill two others in the last two years.

Pasqua told the National Assembly Wednesday that an attack against a particular person targeted "is the most difficult thing in the world to predict, whatever methods are used."

His statement was in response to remarks during a parliamentary debate at the assembly by Jean-Marie Le Pen, leader of the ultraright National Front, who said terrorism in France is becoming progressively worse.

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