This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Looking for Justice in Rue Copernic Synagogue Bombing

The long-running case of Lebanese-born Palestinian Hassan Diab is back again in the news. This is a man identified by German intelligence agents to the French justice authorities as having been the key person responsible for the death of four French citizens and over 40 people who were emerging from a synagogue on rue Copernic in October of 1980 by setting off explosives packed onto a motorcycle. Mr. Diab was identified by German intelligence through their sources as a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, an militant arm of the militant Palestine Liberation Organization.

The PLO, of which the former Yasser Arafat was a founding member and its longtime chairman, was set up to 'liberate' Palestine. To do so it was determined to destroy the State of Israel, since the PLO and its members accused Israel of looting the historical lands of Israel from what they claim to be its legitimate owners, Palestinian Arabs. In previous incarnations, Palestinians were always considered to be Jews, and for good reason, since the Jewish presence in that portion of the Middle East was unbroken, despite the diaspora when Jews were forced in antiquity to flee their native geography.

Hassan Diab stands accused by French justice officials of murder and attempted murder. He claims he is entirely innocent; a man of peace who harbours no prejudice against anyone, and that this is a clear instance of mistaken identity. A French police drawing derived from questioning witnesses who dealt with Mr. Diab in Paris was instantly recognized by an old friend, a Mr. El Khalil who verified to French police that both he and Mr. Diab were members of the PFLP.

Although Mr. Diab denies even having been in Paris at the time of the bombing, evidence to the contrary exists in a purportedly 'lost' passport in the possession of another man, which was clearly stamped with an entry at the right date, to France. Mr. Diab later claimed to have lost his original passport and requested a replacement. There appears to be evidence that French authorities believe identify him as the bomber.
  • - Mr. Diab resembles police sketches of the bomber;
  • - His handwriting matches that of the bomber;
  • - He is identified by intelligence sources and former friends as having been a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine;
  • - His passport was used to get into France around the time of the 1980 bombing, in suspicious circumstances.

All of which he denies, as does his lawyers and his supporters. France requested his extradition from Canada and after much circumlocution in the form of judicial enquiries, it was eventually agreed by Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Maranger that Mr. Diab be extradited, though he remained unconvinced with the evidential quality brought before him and contested. The then-justice minister verified his extradition and he was finally removed to France (he had been arrested initially in 2008 by the RCMP).

The latest brouhaha was Mr. Diab's release on bail a week ago by a magistrate's order, which three French justices later overturned, ordering him to return to custody. He had previously exhausted all legal avenues in Canada to delay his extradition to France to stand trial on the charges brought against him. At the very last he hoped that the Supreme Court of Canada would intervene, but they had refused to hear the case.

It is now up to a French court to assemble all its evidence and a trial to take place establishing either his guilt or his innocence. It is doubtful that both German and French intelligence could be so errant in prosecuting their search for responsibility in a terrorist atrocity that they have erred badly enough to hound an innocent man. If that is the case, however, then surely a trial will result in bringing the truth to light.

Until that trial takes place and the matter of guilt or innocence is finally established, a man who purportedly engaged in terrorist acts (there is an additional accusation that another attack had taken place in Antwerp on another synagogue) must await justice. Roger Cukierman, president of the French Jewish umbrella organization CRIF and a vice-president of the World Jewish Congress, speaks of the need to find the perpetrator of those attacks and bring him to justice.

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