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Canadian Faces Trial in 1980 Paris Bombing

An Ottawa professor has been ordered extradited to France, where he faces charges related to the 1980 bombing of a synagogue in Paris that killed four people.

Canada’s Justice Minister, Rob Nicholson, issued the extradition order on April 4 against Hassan Diab, who teaches sociology at two Ottawa universities.

The RCMP arrested Diab in November, 2008 in response to a request by France. An Ontario court ruled to extradite him last year.

The terrorist bombing in central Paris killed four passersby, and many others inside and outside the synagogue were injured.

The Lebanese-born Diab, a Canadian citizen, has denied any role in the attack, claiming that he is the victim of mistaken identity. He says he will take his case to higher courts, meaning he will stay in Canada for the foreseeable future.

“We expected this decision but not this way,” he told the Ottawa Citizen. “We expected the minister to address our points, which he did not. He just ignored them and rendered his decision based on his political beliefs more than anything else.”

Diab’s lawyer says a key plank in the appeal will be a written admission from Paris that authorities have not yet finished investigating the synagogue bombing. He said a Canadian citizen can only be extradited if he or she is wanted for trial, not “for the purpose of continuing an investigation to determine whether or not there will ever be a trial.”

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