Middle East studies in the News
French Jewish Leader Calls Release of Suspect in Paris Synagogue Bombing From Jail 'Scandalous' [on Hassan Diab]
World Jewish Congress
Hassan Diab, the main suspect in the attack on the Rue Copernic Synagogue in Paris 26 years ago, was released on bail from a prison in France after his ex-wife provided him with an alibi.
Roger Cukierman, president of the French Jewish umbrella organization CRIF and a vice-president of the World Jewish Congress, called the judge's decision "scandalous and irresponsable" and "an insult to the victims and their families." Cukierman said the freeing of Diab would be interpreted by many as "giving in to terrorism."
Lebanese-Canadian national Hassan Diab is the main suspect in the attack on 3 October 1980, in which four people were killed and 40 injured.
Prosecutors believe he was part of the Special Operations branch of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) which was blamed for the bombing of the synagogue, the first major attack against a Jewish site in France since the end of World War II.
The 62-year-old sociology professor was extradited from Canada in November 2014 and then charged by French prosecutors. He was released last Saturday after a judge ruled there was a doubt on the "fundamental question" of whether he was in France on the day of the attack. According to reports, Diab's ex-wife told investigators that he was in Beirut on 28 September 1980, despite stamps in his passport indicating that he was already in Europe by that date, a source close to the investigation told AFP.
The judge said the ex-wife's statement should be treated with caution but had to be taken into account, the source added. The Paris Prosecutor's Office has appealed the decision.
Diab has been charged with murder, attempted murder and destruction of property as part of a terrorist enterprise. He has maintained his innocence and denied being a member of the PFLP. His lawyer, William Bourdon, said there was "strictly no risk of flight", and his client would be present for the next hearing before the court of appeal.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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