Wiesenthal Centre to French Justice Minister: "We Indignantly Protest the Release of Accused Copernic Synagogue Bomber"

SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTRE-EUROPE
Tel.: +33(0)1 47 23 76 37
Fax: +33(0)1 47 20 84 01
Email:csweurope@gmail.com

"Many view this release in the context of the French-led UNESCO resolution effacing the Jewish identity of its holy sites and an announced Paris conference affecting the security of Israel while excluding the Jewish State".

"The freeing of Diab can only encourage Jihadists to further terrorism in France, believing that they can truly get away with murder. We urge French Justice to return Diab to custody before he can flee the country as a hero to every Islamist".

Paris, 18 May 2016

In a letter to the French Justice Minister, Jean-Jacques Urvoas, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed the Centre's indignant protest regarding the release of accused Copernic Synagogue bomber, Hassan Diab.

Samuels recalled that, "On 3 October 1980, at 6:35pm, a bomb exploded outside the Copernic Synagogue in Paris, killing four passers-by and injuring 40 worshippers inside the building. Prime Minister, Raymond Barre, declared that 'a bomb set for Jews killed four innocent Frenchmen'. One was Aliza - wife of Israeli film maker, Micha Shagrir - who had arrived to Paris as a weekend guest of the late journalist, Tamar Golan".

On a personal noted, he added, "I had accompanied Aliza the one hundred meters from her hostess's apartment to the corner of Copernic, where a few seconds later she met her death", continuing, "though the authorities had blamed the extreme right, I immediately argued that 'the attack had all the features of Palestinian and local extreme-left terrorism'."

The letter pointed out that, "over the next two years, the Copernic attack was followed by 29 such incidents of antisemitic terror in France, mostly in Paris. This ended with the summer 1982 anti-terrorist Israeli incursion into southern Lebanon, which dispersed European trainees into PLO camps. Arriving home, their targets shifted to banks and government installations rather than synagogues", suggesting that, "just as today, terror against Jews had become a general scourge, resulting in a rigorous governmental crackdown".

Samuels described how "in 1999, French intelligence obtained evidence pointing to Hassan Diab, a Beirut-born Palestinian member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – Special Operations (PFLP-SO), as having assembled and detonated the bomb", continuing, "false passports, hand-writing analysis and testimony from PFLP and other sources led to his 2008 detention in Ottawa, Canada. There followed two years of house arrest... I attended the 2010 extradition hearing which degenerated into anti-Israel demonstrations. The Wiesenthal Centre, for the next four years, campaigned for his transfer to a Paris court".

Samuels continued, "after serial appeals, Diab arrived in France where he was charged with murder in February 2015. Two demands for annulment of the case, on grounds that the evidence lacked credibility, were rejected by the Paris Court of Appeals, on 17 December".

The Centre lamented that, "Diab has been released based on an alibi from his wife - ironic in view of testimony from a Paris prostitute, identifying Diab as a client in a Paris hotel near Copernic the night before the bombing," arguing that, "after 36 years of waiting, the hopes for justice of the Copernic victims and survivors have been betrayed. Many of our members are apparently viewing this release in the context of the French-led UNESCO resolution effacing the Jewish identity of its holy sites and an announced Paris conference affecting the security of Israel while excluding the participation of the Jewish State".

The freeing of Diab can only encourage Jihadists to further terrorism in France, believing that they can truly get away with murder. We urge French Justice to return Diab to custody before he can flee the country as a hero to every Islamist.

For further information please contact Shimon Samuels 00 33 60 97 70 158