Judge clears extradition of Ottawa man accused in Paris synagogue bombing

OTTAWA— The Canadian Press

A judge has committed an Ottawa sociology professor for extradition to France to face bombing charges.

The decision by Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Maranger means Hassan Diab is a step closer to being tried for murder in the 31-year-old terrorism case.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson will have the final say.

French authorities say Mr. Diab was involved in the 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue that killed four people and injured dozens of others.

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

He denies any role in the deadly attack.

Judge Maranger concluded France had presented “a weak case” that makes the prospect of conviction “unlikely.” But he said Mr. Diab must be surrendered under the terms of Canada's extradition law.

Stamps in Mr. Diab's 1980 passport indicate he was not in France at the time of the bombing.

But his handwriting allegedly appears on a hotel registration card – evidence his lawyers have disputed.

Still, Mr. Diab's supporters were not hopeful in advance of the court ruling.

“The judge has signalled that he is likely to rule in favour of committal because Canada's extradition law does not allow him to discard the handwriting evidence,” the Diab support committee said in a statement.