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Academic convicted of Paris synagogue bombing in 1980

A professor has been found guilty for a 1980 bombing that killed four people and injured 46 others.

Hassan Diab is a Lebanese Canadian national who was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment for an attack that has been unsolved in France for decades.

Diab, a Canadian citizen who lives in Ottowa, the Canadian capital city, has been arrested by a court in Paris.

He denies any wrongdoing, and says he was in Lebanon when the atrocity occurred. He insists he’s a victim mistaken identity.


The French authorities accuse Diab, a terrorist group, of planting a bomb in front of the synagogue on 3 October 1980. This was the night when 320 people gathered for a Jewish holiday to celebrate the end.

Investigators first suspected far-right extremists, before shifting their attention to Palestinian militants.

Although the attack was attributed by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – Special Operations, no one claimed responsibility.

Paris: More Information

The conviction of Diab on Friday was a surprise to many. A magistrate who had investigated the case said that there wasn’t enough evidence for Diab to be convicted.

The leader of France’s largest Jewish group, CRIF welcomed the result – and called for authorities in Canada, to arrest Diab.

The lawyer for the victims stated that the trial will serve as a warning against future terrorist acts and antisemitic crimes.

In 2014, Canada authorized Diab’s expulsion to France as part of a criminal investigation.

After three years of pre-trial custody, judges anti-terrorism ordered his release due to the lack of evidence.

Diab was in Canada during the entire process.

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Picture: Corinne Adler (14 at the time of attack) speaking to reporters earlier this month in Paris. Pic: AP

Haunted By Ordeal

Survivors have spoken out about their ordeal and described years of mental and physical anguish.

Others revealed their sorrow for the loss of children or siblings. Some were even haunted by motorcycles’ sounds after the attack.

William Bourdon, Hassan Diab’s lawyer. Pic: AP

William Bourdon, Diab’s attorney, asked the court to acquit Diab, saying that a conviction would have been a “judicial error”. Amnesty International, on the other hand, called the case flawed and baseless, saying it undermined “effective justice for the victims”.

Lawyers for the 18 individuals and six groups involved in this case admitted that it was difficult to build a case over 30 years, especially without DNA evidence or the mobile phone data currently being used in investigations.


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