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January 12, 2018 3:33 pm

Eyewitness to 1980 Paris Synagogue Bombing Protests Release of Suspect by French Court

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French Jews gathering outside the rue Copernic synagogue in Paris after it was bombed by a terrorist on October 3, 1980. Photo: Reuters TV.

An eyewitness to the 1980 bombing of a synagogue in Paris — in which four people died and dozens more were wounded — expressed outrage on Friday at the release of the terrorist allegedly behind the attack.

Shimon Samuels — international relations director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) — told French Justice Nicole Belloubet in a letter that the release of the suspect, Hassan Diab, by a Paris tribunal was “a body-blow for survivors and victims families.”

Samuels recalled his presence on October 3, 1980, on the corner of rue Lauriston, 150 meters away from the explosion. He had just wished a “Happy Succoth” (Tabernacles) to Aliza Shagrir — wife of the Israeli filmmaker, Midna Shagrir — as she turned into rue Copernic, where she met her death as one of the four street victims of the bombing that also wounded 41 inside the destroyed building.

The following morning, then-Prime Minister Raymond Barre notoriously stated that “a bomb set for Jews killed four innocent Frenchmen.”

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“The bomb killed a Portuguese postman, a Chinese restaurant waiter, Aliza, and ‘an innocent Frenchman,’ wounding 41 worshippers inside the synagogue,” corrected Samuels.

In 2010, Samuels was present at Diab’s extradition hearings in Ottawa, Canada. Based on forensic evidence, Diab was finally extradited to France in 2014.

“The repercussions of the ruling may become a celebration for terrorism with Hassan Diab glorified as a hero,” Samuels wrote. “Madam Minister, we demand an appeal and the continued detention of Diab.”

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  • רות רחל אא

    Very, very surprising after the great efforts that France made in order to extradite Hassan Diab from Canada.

    Usually a successful extradition presupposes (or tacitly affirms) that there is sufficient evidence to move forward with a case in the country to which the suspect is being extradited.

    France failing to move forward with prosecution after holding Hassan Diab in custody for three years, now he finds himself a free man in France, without any way of returning to either Lebanon or Canada.

    It’s all very strange…and leaves everyone, including Diab and his counsel, with a great sense of injustice, rather than a sense of justice being done.