Canadian professor held for 1980 French bombing

November 16th, 2008 - 2:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Nov 16 (IANS) A Canadian professor of Lebanese origin faces extradition to France to face trial for a 1980 bombing plot that killed four people.Fifty-four-year-old Hassan Diab, who teaches part-time at Ottawa University and Carleton University (also in Ottawa), was picked up Thursday for his role in the bombing of a Paris synagogue 28 years ago.

Four worshippers were killed as they were about to finish their prayers in October 1980. The bombing was blamed on the defunct Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-Special Operations.

The French reopened the 28-year-old case last year when the German authorities found an old membership list of the terror outfit.

The name of the Canadian professor was also on that list.

As Diab faces extradition to France, he was produced in court Friday.

“It’s mistaken identity, that’s for sure. He wasn’t in France for sure. He was probably, at the time this happened, still studying at the University of Lebanon,” insisted his lawyer Rene Duval.

Speaking to the media Saturday, he said his client was a well-respected professor and was shocked at the arrest warrant and the charges laid against him.

“He is a law-abiding citizen. this has been a real aggravation for my client,” said the lawyer.

“When you’ve never had any problems with the law and all of a sudden to be handcuffed and foot-chained and driven to RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) headquarters and then to court, it’s distressing,” he said.

“We will be discussing the evidence we have been provided, but I cannot go further than that,” he added.

The lawyer said: “This is a gentleman who is a very professional person and, of course, everyone is surprised by this thing that happened. You will have a hard time finding someone who will say something negative about him.”

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