Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ottawa Man Wanted by France in 1980 Bombing Challenges Extradition Order

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ottawa Man Wanted by France in 1980 Bombing Challenges Extradition Order

Article excerpt

Ottawa man challenges extradition order


OTTAWA - An Ottawa sociology professor says both an Ontario judge and the federal justice minister made legal errors in deciding he should be sent to France as a suspect in a decades-old terror bombing.

Hassan Diab heads to the Ontario Court of Appeal on Monday to argue their reasoning was flawed and should be overruled.

French authorities suspect Diab, 59, was involved in the anti-Semitic bombing of a Paris synagogue in 1980 that killed four people and injured dozens of others. It was the final day of a Jewish festival known as Simchas Torah.

In June 2011, Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Maranger committed Diab for extradition to face French authorities despite acknowledging the case against him was weak.

In April last year, then-justice minister Rob Nicholson signed an extradition order surrendering Diab to France.

Diab denies any role in the deadly attack, saying the unwavering moral principle throughout his life has been promoting equality and respect for all.

The RCMP arrested Diab, a Canadian of Lebanese descent, in November 2008 in response to a request by France. He had worked as a contract instructor at two Ottawa universities before his world was turned upside-down.

During the lengthy and fiercely argued Ontario Superior Court case, Maranger examined elements of France's request including eyewitness descriptions, composite sketches and handwriting on a hotel registration card allegedly penned by Diab -- evidence his lawyers vigorously disputed.

In his ruling, the judge concluded France had presented "a weak case" that makes the prospect of conviction "in the context of a fair trial, seem unlikely." But he said Diab must be sent to France under the terms of Canada's extradition law.

In a brief filed with the appeal court, Diab argues that a flawed handwriting analysis and other evidence that at best creates a degree of suspicion amounts to a case that does not allow committal for extradition. …

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