A Canada-based sociology professor has been sentenced in absentia to life in prison by a court in Paris for the bombing of a synagogue over forty years ago, which left four people dead and dozens injured.
Hassan Diab, 69, a Lebanese-Canadian, is the only person ever accused in connection with the 1980 blast, which took place outside a Copernic synagogue in Paris as more than 300 people worshiped inside.
The court followed the prosecutors' request for the maximum possible punishment against Diab - a decision that was met with silence in the packed courtroom.
Some victims and their families could be seen embracing at the end of the tense three-week trial, during which the suspect's box remained empty throughout.
Prosecutors had said in their closing arguments on Thursday that there was 'no possible doubt' that Diab, who remains in Canada, was behind the attack.
In the early evening of October 3, 1980, 22 pounds of explosives were left inside the saddlebags of a rented motorcycle.
It was parked outside the synagogue and detonated soon after on the Rue Copernic in Paris's upmarket 16th district.
The blast ripped down the glass roof of the building, bringing it down on those inside as they celebrated the Shabbat and the barmitzvah of three boys and batmitzvah of two girls.
The force of the explosion also blew off a synagogue door and shopfronts along 150 metres of the road were shattered.
The explosion a student passing by on a motorbike, a driver, an Israeli journalist and a caretaker.
Forty-six others were injured in the blast, which had been timed to hit worshippers as they left the synagogue.
An even worse loss of life was only averted because the ceremonies inside were running 15 minutes behind.
At the opening of the trial on April 3, victim Corinne Adler spoke to the press outside the Paris court about how, decades on, the blast had impacted her life.
Ms Adler was celebrating her batmitzvah in the synagogue at the age of 13 when the bomb went off.
The 56-year-old described her 'buried trauma', which over the years she has had to learn to live with.
The bombing was the first deadly attack against a Jewish target on French soil since World War II.
No organisation claimed responsibility but police suspected a splinter group of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
French intelligence agents in 1999 accused Diab of having made the 22-pound bomb.
They pointed to Diab's likeness with police sketches drawn at the time and handwriting analyses that they said confirmed him as the person who bought the motorbike used in the attack.
They also produced a key item of evidence against him - a passport in his name, seized in Rome in 1981, with entry and exit stamps from Spain, where the attack plan was believed to have originated.
In 2014, Canada extradited Diab at the request of the French authorities following a lengthy legal wrangle which went all the way to the Supreme Court.
Diab was eventually extradited to France and spent three years behind bars there.
Allegations against him were dismissed by French judges in January 2018 and he was allowed to return to Ottawa, where he lives with his wife and children.
In May 2021, a French court upheld a decision directing Diab to stand trial, a ruling his Canadian lawyer called inexplicable.
However, investigating judges were unable to prove his guilt conclusively during the investigation and Diab was released, leaving France for Canada as a free man in 2018.
Three years later, a French court overturned this earlier decision and ordered that Diab should stand trial on charges of murder, attempted murder and destruction of property in connection with a terrorist enterprise.
Most of the evidence presented against him was based on intelligence sources, and Diab's lawyers had again argued the case should be thrown out.
'I'm in front of you to avoid a miscarriage of justice,' celebrity defence lawyer William Bourdon told the court Thursday, saying that an acquittal was 'the only judicial decision possible'.
Diab has claimed he was sitting exams in Lebanon at the time of the attack, backed up by statements from his ex-partner and former students.
His conviction means he will now again become the subject of another arrest warrant, which risks stoking diplomatic tensions between France and Canada after his first extradition took six years.
David Pere, a lawyer for some of the people present in the synagogue at the time of the bombing, said his clients were 'not motivated by vengeance nor looking for a guilty person's head to stick on a pike... they want justice to be done'.
Diab has won some backing from NGOs, including Amnesty International, who said his assertion that he was in Lebanon at the time of the attack was credible.