Samuels recounted that, “on the evening of 3 October 1980, I was visiting the well-known journalist Tamar Golan, at her home in rue Lauriston. Her house guest, Aliza Shagrir – wife of a prominent Israeli television producer – asked if anything was needed for dinner. ‘A few figs’,Tamar replied. We went downstairs together. I continued along the street to my car. She turned into the rue Copernic to the fruit shop facing the synagogue where, a few seconds later, she met her death.” 

The letter added that, “twenty-eight years later, the search finally led to Hassan Diab – a former Palestinian Lebanese Sociology Professor in Ottawa – as the prime suspect in an atrocity which left four dead outside the synagogue and over forty wounded on the inside.” 

Samuels continued, “in November 2010, I sat in the Ottawa courtroom hearing of the French extradition request – a procedure that normally, between two democracies, should have taken up to three days. Almost four years later, the Appeal Court has now approved that extradition, but Diab’s legal team seeks further delaying tactics through the Supreme Court.  For thirty-four years, the survivors and the families of the victims have been awaiting justice.” 

The Centre urged the Minister to impress upon her Canadian counterpart “the urgency in sending Diab for trial in a Paris court.” 

The letter emphasized that, “Copernic, in 1980, launched two years of antisemitic terrorism – 73 shootings and bombings of Jewish targets across Western Europe, of which 29 took place in France. This wave of attacks ended with the machine gunning of pedestrians in the Rue des Rosiers in August 1982, leaving 9 dead.” 

“The trial of Hassan Diab will bring closure to many who have waited too long. It will also draw the lessons of that dark period to a new generation at a time of resurgent antisemitism and racist violence. Justice further delayed is justice denied”, concluded Samuels.

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre is an international Jewish human rights organization with a worldwide membership of 440,000. Established in 1977, with headquarters in Los Angeles, it draws the lessons of the Holocaust to the analysis of contemporary issues of prejudice and discrimination. The Centre is an NGO in consultative status to the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the Organization of American States and the Council of Europe.

For further information, please contact Dr Shimon Samuels at +33.609.7701.58