Accused Paris synagogue bomber gets 2nd bail hearing

27th February 2009, Comments 0 comments

A Canadian-Lebanese national arrested for his alleged role in a 1980 Paris synagogue bombing that killed four has been granted a second bail hearing.

OTTAWA – A Canadian-Lebanese national arrested for his alleged role in a 1980 Paris synagogue bombing that killed four has been granted a second bail hearing, a court heard Thursday.

Hassan Diab, 55, was arrested in November 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.

Judge Robert Maranger on Thursday set a second bail hearing for 18-20 March to determine if Diab should continue to be held in custody, or be released pending an extradition hearing.

A decision to deny bail to Diab at his first court appearance in December was quashed earlier this week because he does not understand French, and could not comprehend prosecution documents from France entered as evidence.

An appeal's court review found this to be in breach of his constitutional right to hear all evidence against him.

Another hearing on 9 April has been set to determine which court documents in the case must be translated into English. Half of the filings have already been construed.

"We're very gratified by this outcome," Diab's lawyer Don Bayne told AFP. The language issue at the original bail hearing in which Diab was deemed a flight risk, he said, resulted in "a denial of justice".

In October 1980, a bomb planted in a motorcycle saddlebag outside the Copernic Street synagogue in Paris's 16th arrondissement killed three Frenchmen and 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.

French authorities issued a warrant in November 2007 for Diab's arrest, following a lead from German intelligence, believing he was involved. But Diab has insisted they made a mistake and denied links to extremist groups.

His lawyers said it was a case of mistaken identity and repeatedly insisted Diab was not in Paris at the time of the bombing.

Before his arrest, Diab worked as a part-time professor at Canada's Carleton and Ottawa universities.

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

AFP / Expatica

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