Court upholds extradition over 1980 French bombing

Canadian judge denies appeal by professor accused of 1980 attack on Paris synagogue

The Grand Synagogue in Lyon, France. (photo credit: CC-BY Anne Varak, Flickr)
The Grand Synagogue in Lyon, France. (photo credit: CC-BY Anne Varak, Flickr)

OTTAWA — A Canadian appeal’s court on Thursday rejected a bid to stop the extradition of a Canadian university professor accused of a deadly 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue.

The Court of Appeal for Ontario denied Hassan Diab’s appeal of a 2011 court decision and the Canadian government’s order to extradite the University of Ottawa sociologist to France.

Both requests are “dismissed,” the court said in its decision.

Diab, however, is not expected to go anywhere soon as his lawyers said they will now ask the Supreme Court of Canada to hear the case.

Diab denies any involvement in the first fatal attack against the French Jewish community since the Nazi occupation in World War II, which left four dead and many wounded.

Canada’s justice minister in April 2012 signed an order to send Hassan Diab to France after a Canadian court in June 2011 approved his extradition despite its concerns the French case is “weak.”

Diab’s lawyers at the appeal’s court sought to discredit handwriting analysis of five words undertaken by France’s expert in the case.

The handwriting sample is considered to be the “smoking gun” in the decision to extradite Diab, his lawyer Marlys Edwardh told the appeal’s court.

It showed that Diab likely signed a Paris hotel slip under a false identity (Alexander Panadriyu), which was also used to purchase a motorcycle used in the bombing.

Diab’s legal team also sought to prove that then-justice minister Rob Nicholson reached beyond his jurisdiction in ordering Diab’s surrender, and that some of the evidence in the case came from unsourced intelligence from the French government, raising questions about its reliability.

His lawyers also said that the intelligence has a “plausible connection” to torture.

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