media, News, Uncategorized

A Front Page Story (Success!!)

Tevy's front page story copyAfter eleven weeks, a story of mine has finally made the front page!

The story is about the hiring and subsequent firing of an alleged terrorist at the university of Carleton. Here’s the full article:

Alleged terrorist is centre of controversy at Carleton




Written by Tevy Pilc
Wednesday, 05 August 2009
OTTAWA-TORONTO – A day after a Carleton University statement confirmed the hiring of Hassan Diab – accused of killing four people in a 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue – the university decided to let him go “in the interest of providing its students with a stable, productive academic environment that is conducive to learning.”The announcement, which was confirmed in an email sent to the Jewish Tribune, came hours after B’nai Brith Canada released a statement criticizing the appointment, expressing extreme concern that an alleged terrorist could be hired to teach a course at a leading Canadian university.

“The university did the right thing,” said Frank Dimant, B’nai Brith Canada’s executive vice-president, discussing the removal of Diab.

“We find it deplorable that university officials believe that there is nothing wrong with employing Diab. The safety and security of the community as a whole, and of the Carleton University campus in particular, are of great concern to us.”

Diab was to begin teaching a part-time introductory sociology course, which he has taught in the past at Carleton, for two days a week until mid-August.

According to the university, Diab was hired because of an “unforeseen leave” by the original course instructor.

His employment emerged in court last Monday, when he attended a hearing to decide whether evidence seized by police can be sent to French officials as evidence in their case against Diab in the bombing of the Rue Copernic Synagogue.

Under virtual home confinement since his Nov. 13, 2008 arrest, Diab cannot leave home unless accompanied by one of the five people who posted his combined $250,000 in bail bonds. As well as very strict bail conditions, which include the wearing of an electronic monitoring bracelet and not owning a cell phone, Diab would have also been obliged to travel to and from the university with his common-law spouse who is also a Carleton professor. However, he would no longer need an escort once at the university.

“As long as the investigation and Mr. Diab’s extradition hearings are ongoing, it is unfathomable that he should be put in a position of influence,” added Dimant in a National Post op ed.

The Lebanon-born Diab, 55, has lived in Ottawa since 2006 with his common-law spouse, Rania Tfaily. He acquired Canadian citizenship in 1993.

Len Rudner, Ontario regional director of the Canadian Jewish Congress, said in an article written for Sun Media that Diab’s hiring was “questionable,” suggesting the university has a responsibility to explain the reasons behind Diab’s hiring.

“Reasonable citizens may wonder what the university was possessed by when they made this decision.”

Avi Benlolo, president and CEO of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, said he was “very pleased” with Carleton University’s decision to replace Diab, saying he should be cleared of all charges before resuming his teaching career at Carleton University.

However, the Canadian Association of University Professors has defended Diab, issuing a statement last week condemning the dismissal.

“The university’s actions show a blatant disregard of the principles of natural justice and due process, the legal right of an accused to the presumption of innocence, and the responsibility of a university to protect its autonomy from inappropriate outside pressure.”

In January, Diab is scheduled to appear in court to decide whether he should be extradited to France to face allegations that he participated in the bombing of the Paris synagogue. French authorities allege police sketches and handwritings of the bomber match those of Diab.

According to court documents in France, he’s also been identified by intelligence sources and former friends as having been a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-Special Operations, the terrorist group blamed for the attack.

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