Canadian scholar Hassan Diab sentenced to stand trial in French terrorism case – fr

The highest French court will rule next week on the terrorism case of Canadian academic Hassan Diab – fr

France’s highest court dismissed Hassan Diab’s appeal and ordered the Ottawa academic to stand trial for a bombing outside a Paris synagogue 40 years ago.
Diab’s wife Rania Tfaily told CBC News the CBC News France Court of Appeal dismissed their appeal in a written decision this morning.

In January, the French appeals court overturned a lower court ruling that released Diab, 67, due to a lack of evidence.

“The trial of a scapegoat is not justice,” Diab’s Canadian lawyer Don Bayne said at a press conference in Ottawa last week after French lawyers for Diab appealed of the lower court’s decision.

“This is happening because of intensive lobbying from large and influential groups in France. They pushed for the trial of an innocent man. “

Diab’s release is contested by more than 20 civil society groups in France – including victims of terrorist groups and pro-Israel organizations.

But France’s attorney general, a senior law official who offers legal advice, sided with Diab’s defense team during the hearings and pleaded for his release.

Charge and extradition

Diab has been accused by authorities of being involved in the 1980 Copernicus Street bombing, which killed four people and injured more than 40.

The University of Ottawa professor was arrested by the RCMP in November 2008 and placed under strict bail conditions until his extradition to France in 2014. He spent more than three years in prison in France before the case against him collapsed.

Firefighters stand near the wreckage of a car and motorcycle after a bomb attack in a Paris synagogue on October 3, 1980 that killed four people. (AFP / Getty Images)

He was released in January 2018 after two French judges ruled that the evidence against him was not strong enough to stand trial. He was never officially charged.

French prosecutors quickly appealed for Diab’s release – prosecuting her after the last piece of physical evidence linking Diab to the bombing was discredited by France’s own experts.

The case evolved slowly as prosecutors sought to find new evidence against Diab and legal proceedings were delayed by the pandemic.

Discredited evidence

The main physical evidence Canada relied on to extradite Diab to France was a handwriting analysis linking Diab’s handwriting to that of the alleged bomber. Canadian government lawyers acting on behalf of France called him a “smoking gun” during the extradition hearing.

But in 2009, Diab’s legal team produced conflicting reports from four international handwriting experts. These experts questioned the methods and conclusions of the French experts. They also proved that some of the handwriting samples used by French analysts did not belong to Diab but to his ex-wife.

French investigating judges dismissed the handwriting evidence as unreliable when they ordered Diab’s release in January 2018.

While considering the appeal for Diab’s release, another French judge ordered an independent review of the disputed written evidence.

Diab’s lawyers said the latter review delivered “a scathing criticism and rebuke” of the analysis of the original writing “which reflects[s] the defense criticism at the extradition hearing 10 years ago. ”

French judges say Diab has an alibi

The French investigating judges who released Diab also discovered that he had an alibi for the day of the Paris bombing. Using university records and interviews with Diab’s classmates, the investigating judges determined that he was “probably in Lebanon” writing exams when the bombing outside the synagogue hit. occurred.

“It is probable that Hassan Diab was in Lebanon in September and October 1980 … and it is therefore unlikely that it was he … who then planted the bomb on rue Copernic on October 3, 1980”, they write.

In 2018, CBC News confirmed that France was aware – and had not disclosed – fingerprint evidence that ended up playing a critical role in the release of Diab.

Since his release, Diab has lived with his wife and two children in Ottawa. He resumed his work as a part-time lecturer.


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