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Trudeau hints at support for Hassan Diab, Ottawa professor facing trial in France

Hassan Diab holds a news conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa Friday, February 7 , 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is signalling Canada will stand up for an Ottawa sociology professor facing trial in France, after calls from human-rights advocates to intervene.

France recently ordered Hassan Diab to stand trial for a decades-old synagogue bombing in Paris, a move his lawyer called the latest misstep in a long odyssey of injustice.

Read more: Hassan Diab lawyer denounces French appeal court’s call for client to stand trial

Trudeau says the federal government is engaging with officials in France, adding it has been a priority for Canada to stand up for citizens with challenging countries and allies alike.

After drawn-out proceedings that went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, Diab was extradited to France, where he spent three years behind bars, including time in solitary confinement.

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In January 2018, French judges dismissed the allegations against him for lack of evidence and ordered his immediate release.

Diab, 67, is now back with his wife and young children in Ottawa as his lawyers in France appeal the latest decision.

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