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Canada's Trudeau urged to intervene in 1980 Paris bombing case

Hassan Diab, 63, had been ordered discharged this week after the judge raised "doubts" about the evidence implicating him in the attack.

Published: 15th November 2017 10:34 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th November 2017 10:34 PM   |  A+A-

Canada PM Justin Trudeau | AP

By AFP

OTTAWA: Artists, activists and politicians appealed to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday to intervene to free the chief suspect in a deadly 1980 attack on a Paris synagogue.

Hassan Diab, 63, had been ordered discharged this week after the judge raised "doubts" about the evidence implicating him in the attack.

But the decision was overturned on appeal.

In an open letter to Trudeau, nearly 300 Diab supporters urged the Canadian leader to prevent Diab's "wrongful conviction" and to help the "Canadian citizen unjustly imprisoned abroad return to his home in Canada."

The signatories include filmmakers Atom Egoyan and Sarah Polley, essayist and environmental activist Naomi Klein, author Yann Martel, former UN special envoy Stephen Lewis and former Liberal leader Bob Rae.

Diab has spent the last nine years either in jail or under strict bail conditions, awaiting trial. Canada extradited him in 2014.

The 1980 bombing, which left four dead and around 40 wounded, was the first fatal attack against the French Jewish community since the Nazi occupation in World War II.

Diab, a Canadian of Lebanese descent who taught sociology at an Ottawa university, is accused of having been a member of the Special Operations branch of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which was blamed for the attack.

Diab has said he has "absolutely no connection whatsoever to the terrible 1980 attack," while his lawyers described the evidence against him as "weak" and based on flawed intelligence.

This week marked the eighth time, according to his lawyers, that Diab has been denied his freedom, which a member of his support committee, Roger Clark, described as "grotesquely absurd."

The prosecution has pointed to a sketch of the bomber resembling Diab, the discovery of a passport in his name with entry and exit stamps from Spain, where the bomber is believed to have fled, and testimonies that Diab was a member of the PFLP in the early 1980s.

Diab insists that he was in Beirut at the time of the attack, taking university exams, which witnesses have corroborated.

A French investigative judge had wrapped up his probe of the 37-year-old case in July, but it was reopened after the court received new information from Israel's intelligence services.



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