Ottawa

Wife of freed Paris bombing suspect fears ordeal isn't over

The wife of freed bombing suspect Hassan Diab fears there could be a long road ahead before her family's nine-year ordeal finally comes to an end.

Rania Tfaily 'deeply disappointed' by French prosecutors' plan to fight husband Hassan Diab's release

Rania Tfaily says she was 'deeply disappointed' to learn French authorities are planning to appeal the release of her husband, Hassan Diab. ((Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press))

The wife of freed bombing suspect Hassan Diab fears there could be a long road ahead before her family's nine-year ordeal finally comes to an end.  

Diab, a former University of Ottawa professor, was arrested by RCMP in November 2008 and spent three years under house arrest before he was extradited to France in 2014. He was charged with first-degree murder in a 1980 Paris synagogue bombing that killed four people, and spent the last three years in prison.

Diab, 64, always denied involvement, maintaining he had been in Lebanon at the time of the attack. Eight previous attempts to free him failed when his bail request was denied by French judges. His case never went to trial.

He was released Friday after French authorities dropped terrorism charges against him due to a lack of evidence.

'Deeply disappointed'

French prosecutors have said they plan to appeal the latest decision.  

They don't want to admit they made a mistake.- Rania Tfaily, wife of Hassan Diab

"I am deeply disappointed," Diab's wife, Rania Tfaily, told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning Monday.

"I had hoped that the fact that they were acknowledging that there are serious doubts, and there is evidence that proved he was not in France, that reason would prevail," said Tfaily, an associate professor at Carleton University.

"They don't want to admit they made a mistake," she said. "It would make them look bad because they have pursued an innocent man all of this time. So it's just a continuation of the same path, despite all of  the problems in the case that they admit."

Uncertain future  

Tfaily is unsure his time in prison has affected her husband, and what kind of  issues her family may have to deal with. Diab was in solitary confinement and spent 23 hours a day in his cell, deprived of contact with family and friends. 

Tfaily was seven months pregnant when Diab was extradited, and said her husband has only seen his son a few times over past three years. Her son and his older sister have grown up without their father, Tfaily said.   

Any visits with her husband were short — normally about 45 minutes — and phone conversations between the couple usually focused on the children, or on Diab's case.

"It's going to take some time to see how much trauma there is," she said. 

Awaiting papers to return

Tfaily said she's an anxious person by nature, and this has only made it worse.  

"I often tell people if I am interacting a certain way that I don't mean anything negative, it's just that I'm anxious," she said.   

For now, Tfaily will have to wait a little longer to see her husband on Canadian soil. Diab's French lawyers told CBC News that he is now in Paris, but he lacks the documents to leave the country. 

Tfaily said they are now working with the Canadian embassy to get the necessary paperwork.   

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