More than nine years after his arrest in connection with a 1980 bombing of a French synagogue, former University of Ottawa professor Hassan Diab has been released from prison after authorities in France dropped terrorism charges against him due to lack of evidence.
Diab’s French lawyers told CBC News that he is now in Paris. Diab is technically free to return to Canada, but he lacks the documents to leave the country and is working with the Canadian embassy to get the necessary paperwork to do so.
The latest release order is still subject to an appeal, and Canadian lawyer Donald Bayne says he’s been advised by the French lawyers that “appeals are already in the works.” It’s not clear if an appeal could limit his ability to leave the country.
The Lebanese-Canadian was arrested by RCMP in November 2008 and was under house arrest for three years before he was extradited to France in 2014. He had spent the last three years in prison after being charged with first-degree murder in a 1980 Paris synagogue bombing that killed four people.
Diab, 64, denied involvement, maintaining he had been in Lebanon at the time of the attack. Eight previous attempts to free him failed when his bail request was denied by French judges. His case never went to trial.
Bayne, confirmed Friday that Diab was no longer under suspicion and the judges have declared the investigation closed. Bayne also said the investigation’s evidence proved Diab’s innocence.
“His supporters never lost faith; it was a matter of when,” Bayne told Radio-Canada on Friday morning.
‘Your life changes overnight’
Diab’s wife, Rania Tfaily, said from their Ottawa home she was relieved when she heard the news.
“It has been almost ten years [since his arrest] and today he is going to walk —…