Canadian appeals extradition over 1980 French bombing

Lawyers on today challenged a decision to extradite a Canadian university professor accused of a deadly 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue, calling France`s key handwriting evidence "fatally flawed."

AFP| Last Updated: Nov 05, 2013, 16:17 PM IST

Toronto: Lawyers on today challenged a decision to extradite a Canadian university professor accused of a deadly 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue, calling France`s key handwriting evidence "fatally flawed."

Hassan Diab is appealing a 2011 court decision and the Canadian government`s order to extradite the University of Ottawa sociologist to France, despite the court`s concerns that the case was "weak."
Diab denies any involvement in the first fatal attack against the French Jewish community since the Nazi occupation in World War II, which left four dead and many wounded.

At the Court of Appeal for Ontario, in a room filled with more than a dozen Diab supporters, lawyer Marlys Edwardh sought to discredit handwriting analysis undertaken by France`s expert, Anne Bisotti.
Edwardh cited the opinions of five experts and said Bisotti`s conclusions -- that Diab likely signed a Paris hotel slip under a false identity (Alexander Panadriyu), which was also used to purchase a motorcycle used in the bombing -- are "untested, unverified, and contrary to accepted methodology."

The handwriting sample is considered to be the "smoking gun" in the decision to extradite Diab, Edwardh said.

Edwardh also questioned the decision of Justice Robert Maranger to clear Diab for extradition, suggesting the Canadian judge presumed the reliability of the evidence based on Bisotti`s bonafides.

Bisotti`s report was the third such analysis to be submitted to Canadian courts from France. The first two were dismissed after criticism by the defense.

Lawyers for Amnesty International, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association are also expected to speak at the hearing as interveners in the appeal.

The hearing continues later today and Tuesday.