Suspect in 1980 Paris synagogue bombing released to house arrest

PARIS (JTA) – A Lebanon-born university lecturer in Ottawa who was extradited to France to stand trial for killing four people in a 1980 synagogue bombing in Paris was released to house arrest.

In his ruling last week, a high court magistrate in charge of reviewing appeals on incarcerations cited “doubt on the fundamental question” of whether Hassan Diab was in France when a bomb went off on Oct. 3, 1980 outside the ULIF synagogue on Copernic Street, AFP reported Tuesday based on information from unnamed judicial sources.

The trial is ongoing and the prosecution intends to appeal Diab’s release.

CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jewish communities, protested the decision in a statement released Tuesday, saying it was outraged.

Diab’s arrest and extradition in 2014 “were a symbol of the judiciary’s determination to fight terrorism,” CRIF President Roger Cukierman said in the statement. “This release is scandalous and irresponsible. It is an insult to the victims and their families and will be interpreted as frailty in the face of terrorism, which hit France hard only recently.”

Diab had fought his extradition from Canada for six years.

French authorities allege that Diab was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and took part in the synagogue bombing. Diab, a dual Lebanese and Canadian citizen, has repeatedly denied the allegations.

Prior to his release, Diab was held in Fleury-Mérogis Prison, a high security correctional centre in southern Paris.

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