Case dropped against Lebanese academic extradited over 1980 synagogue bombing
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Case dropped against Lebanese academic extradited over 1980 synagogue bombing

French magistrates cite lack of evidence against Hassan Diab, who claims he was in Beirut at time of Paris terror attack that killed four

This file photo taken on October 3, 1980 on rue Copernic in Paris shows firemen standing by the wreckage of a car and motocycle after a bombing attack of the rue Copernic synagogue, resulting in the death of four people. (AFP/STF)
This file photo taken on October 3, 1980 on rue Copernic in Paris shows firemen standing by the wreckage of a car and motocycle after a bombing attack of the rue Copernic synagogue, resulting in the death of four people. (AFP/STF)

PARIS, France — A Lebanese-Canadian academic accused over the deadly 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue is to be freed from custody after the case was dismissed for lack of evidence, legal sources said Friday.

In a decision seen by AFP, the French magistrates leading the investigation said the evidence against Hassan Diab, who was extradited from Canada in 2014, was “not convincing enough” and ordered his immediate release.

The October 3, 1980, bombing of a synagogue on Rue Copernic in Paris killed four people and injured about 40.

It was the first fatal attack against France’s Jewish community since the Nazi occupation in World War II.

Screenshot from a November 14, 2014 CBC report on the extradition of Hassan Diab, accused of the 1980 bombing of a synagogue in Paris, an attack that killed four people. (Screen capture: CBC)

Diab, a former professor of sociology at Ottawa University, fought his extradition to France to avoid what he said would be an unfair prosecution for a crime he did not commit.

He was arrested at his home in an Ottawa suburb in November 2008 at the request of French authorities who alleged he was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

Evidence against Diab presented by prosecutors included a sketch of the bomber which resembles Diab and the discovery of a passport in his name with entry and exit stamps from Spain, where the bomber is believed to have fled.

There were also testimonies from witnesses that Diab was a member of the PFLP in the early 1980s.

Diab has insisted that he was in Beirut at the time of the attack to take university exams, which witnesses have corroborated.

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