Suspected Paris synagogue bomber denied bail

4th December 2008, Comments 0 comments

After 28 years, German intelligence identifies a part-time Canadian-Lebanese university professor as the suspected bomber of a Paris synagogue in 1980.

OTTAWA -- A Canadian-Lebanese national arrested for his alleged role in a 1980 Paris synagogue bombing that killed four will remain in detention while awaiting possible extradition to France, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Hassan Diab, 54, was arrested last month in a suburb of Canada's capital at the request of French authorities who want him extradited to stand trial for murder, attempted murder and the destruction of property for his alleged role in the bombing.

Ontario Superior Court Judge Michel Charbonneau determined that Diab should be held in custody while awaiting a decision on his extradition, saying he poses a flight risk.

"There is a real possibility that he does not appear at his extradition hearing," the judge said. A hearing is expected in Feb.

In Oct. 1980, a bomb planted in a motorcycle saddlebag outside the Copernic Street synagogue in Paris's 16th arrondissement killed three French men, a young Israeli woman and injured dozens.

It was the first fatal attack against the French Jewish community since the Nazi occupation of World War II.

Following a lead from German intelligence French authorities issued a warrant in Nov. 2007 for Diab's arrest. But Diab has insisted they had made a mistake and denied having any links to extremist groups.

"This is a case of mistaken identity," said Diab's lawyer, who has repeatedly insisted his client was not in Paris at the time of the bombing.

Before his arrest, Diab worked as a part time professor at Canada's Carleton University, in its sociology and anthropology department, as well as an instructor at the University of Ottawa.

If convicted in a French court Diab faces possible life in prison for murder, attempted murder and wilful destruction of property.


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