French Jews Protest Release Without Trial of Synagogue Bombing Suspect


French Jews protested the release of a man who was extradited from Canada on suspicion that he was involved in the 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue.

CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jewish communities, said on Friday that it was “indignant” about the release of Hassan Diab, a Lebanese-Canadian academic accused over the 1980 bombing the synagogue on Copernic Street, which killed four people. Diab has denied any connection to the act, which Israel and other Western countries believe was the work of terrorists from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

“CRIF calls on the public prosecution to appeal the release” earlier this week of Diab by a judge who said the prosecution did not have enough “convincing” evidence, a CRIF spokesperson wrote in a statement.

“This release without trial of the main suspect is an insult to the memory of the victims and adds to their relatives’ pain,” said CRIF President Francis Kalifat in the statement.

Separately, Clémentine Autain, a lawmaker for the far-left France Insoumise party of the communist politician Jean-Luc Melenchon, said earlier this week in a television interview that Marwan Barghouti, a Palestinian who is serving multiple life sentenced in Israel for acts of terrorism, “is not a terrorist but an activist and political prisoner.” Barghouti, a military commander within the armed wing of the PLO during the second intifada, was sentenced by an Israeli court in 2004 to multiple life sentences for planning dozens of deadly terrorist attacks.

Speaking about Israel, she added in the interview with i24 News: “I think that today the policies of the Israeli government are in a state of radicalization and dangerous authoritarianism, it’s a far-right government.”

CRIF has accused Melenchon and other members of his party of anti-Semitic rhetoric, calling that party “no better” than the far-right National Front party.

In a 2014 speech in which Melenchon praised protesters against Israel without mentioning the targeting of synagogues during their demonstrations, Melenchon shouted: “We’ve had enough of CRIF. France is the opposite of aggressive communities that lecture to the rest of country.”

Melenchon has denied making any anti-Semitic statement, maintaining he is merely a critic of Israel’s policies.


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