Accused Paris bomber awaits extradition ruling

12th November 2014, Comments 0 comments

A university professor accused of the deadly 1980 bombing of a Paris synagoge will learn Thursday whether Canada's Supreme Court will hear his final plea to avoid extradition to France.

Canada's highest court is expected to decide Thursday morning whether it will hear Hassan Diab's appeal of a lower court ruling and a government order to extradite him.

The 60-year-old Diab, who has been under house arrest for most of the past six years, has been ordered to be held ahead of the announcement, his lawyer Donald Bayne confirmed to AFP.

He reportedly spent Tuesday evening with family, friends and supporters at his Ottawa area home as the clock runs on his legal maneuverings.

The 1980 bombing was the first fatal attack against the French Jewish community since the Nazi occupation in World War II.

It left four dead and 40 wounded.

Diab has denied any involvement in the attack, saying last May he has "absolutely no connection whatsoever to the terrible 1980 attack.

"Canada's justice minister signed an order in April 2012 to send Diab to France after a Canadian court the previous year approved his extradition despite its concerns the French case was "weak.

"In proceedings, Diab's lawyers have mainly sought to discredit what they've called "fatally flawed" handwriting analysis of a Paris hotel slip used by prosecutors.

France says the slip was signed under a false identity (Alexander Panadriyu), which was also used to purchase a motorcycle utilized in the bombing.

As for whether Canada should extradite a Canadian citizen to face a foreign prosecution, the court noted that Diab was not a Canadian national at the time of the alleged offense and so Canada is treaty-bound to extradite him.

Diab became a Canadian citizen in 2006, and is now the father of a nearly two-year-old girl with his common-law wife.

He claims he was studying in Beirut in 1980.

Dozens of his supporters including linguist and left-wing activist Noam Chomsky and former Canadian solicitor general Warren Allmand wrote a letter to Canada's minister of justice on Wednesday asking that Diab's extradition be halted and the law rewritten.

In an interview with the daily Ottawa Citizen, Diab said, "It's a very emotional time, but there is nothing to do except wait and hope for the best.

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© 2014 AFP

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