French appeal of Hassan Diab release reportedly delayed

OTTAWA — A Paris court which was expected to issue a ruling Friday in the case of Ottawa academic Hassan Diab has delayed its decision until Sept. 28, according to a CBC News report.

Diab, 64, was suspected of being involved in the 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue that killed four people, an accusation he has always denied.

France appealed a January decision to release Diab and send him home to Canada and three French magistrates at an appeals court in Paris were expected to rule on that appeal Friday. They said the case was pushed back to September because evidence supplied by Greek authorities had yet to be translated and handed to the parties involved in the case for review.

The RCMP arrested Diab, a Canadian of Lebanese descent, in November 2008 in response to a request by France.

In June 2011, Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Maranger committed Diab for extradition despite acknowledging the case against him was weak. The following year, then-justice minister Rob Nicholson signed an extradition order surrendering Diab to France.

The Ontario Court of Appeal upheld both decisions and the Supreme Court of Canada declined to review the matter.

Diab's supporters have long argued he was in Beirut — not Paris — when the attack took place and that his fingerprints, palm prints, physical description and age did not match those of the suspect identified in 1980.

In November 2014, Diab — who is back in Canada with his family — was sent to France, where he was held in solitary confinement for up to 22 hours a day. In January, French judges dismissed the allegations against Diab and ordered his immediate release.

Late Thursday, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said former Ontario chief prosecutor Murray Segal would lead an external review of Diab's extradition.

Wilson-Raybould asked for an independent review of the extradition at the end of May to focus on whether the Extradition Act was followed in this case and if there are specific concerns that need to be addressed with regard to Canada's extradition treaty with France.

The justice minister said Segal "will be given the tools, access and discretion necessary to conduct a thorough and independent review of the case."

The sociology professor and his supporters have been urging the federal government to hold a full public inquiry into the case and to reform the Extradition Act to ensure individual rights are respected.

 

The Canadian Press

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