Canadian wanted in Paris bombing faces extradition
Nov. 13, 2014
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — A Canadian man wanted in France in connection with a deadly 1980 synagogue bombing could be extradited within days after the Supreme Court announced Thursday it will not hear his case.
Hassan Diab, a 60, is subject to immediate removal and the government has 45 days to do it, said Clarissa Lamb, a spokeswoman for Canada's justice minister.
The high court did not release reasons for its decision, as is customary. The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled earlier this year that a lower court judge and the federal justice minister made no legal errors in concluding Diab should be handed to French authorities.
Canadian police arrested Diab in 2008 in response to a request from France, where he is wanted on charges of murder and attempted murder in the Oct. 3, 1980 bombing outside a Paris synagogue that killed three Frenchmen and one Israeli woman.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-Special Operations was blamed for the bombing at the time. The investigation was reopened after Diab's name turned up on a list of former members of a Palestinian extremist group obtained by German intelligence officials.
Diab, who had been a part-time sociology professor at both Carleton University and the University of Ottawa before his arrest, has denied any role in the attack.
Stamps in Diab's 1980 passport indicated he was not in France at the time of the bombing.
In June 2011, Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Maranger committed Diab for extradition despite acknowledging the case against him was weak.
In a statement, Diab, who is of Lebanese descent, expressed disappointment in the decision and promised to never stop fighting to be allowed to live in the country he calls home. He described his life of late as a nightmare.
"This is a very sad day for me, my family and supporters, and the state of extradition law in Canada. I had hoped for justice from the Canadian legal system," he said.
Donald Pratt of the Hassan Diab Support Committee said they are "extremely disappointed." Pratt said Diab reported to a detention center Wednesday night ahead of the court decision.
The French Embassy in Ottawa said Diab is presumed to be innocent. In France, he will be heard by an investigating judge in an open judicial inquiry, the embassy said in a statement.
The bomb, hidden in the saddlebags of a parked motorcycle, exploded outside the synagogue during a Sabbath service. About 200,000 people later marched through the streets of Paris to protest the attack.
Associated Press writer Rob Gillies in Toronto contributed to this report