01/12/2018 07:18 EST | Updated 01/12/2018 08:01 EST

French authorities order release of Lebanese-Canadian Hassan Diab

OTTAWA — French authorities have dropped terrorism charges and ordered the release of a Lebanese-Canadian who was suspected of taking part in an attack in Paris in 1980.

Hassan Diab was accused in the terrorist attack on a Paris synagogue and has been imprisoned in France for three years.

But French magistrates have ruled the evidence against the 64-year-old man was not strong enough to warrant a referral to criminal court.

Diab's Ottawa-based lawyer, Donald Bayne, says supporters are elated, relieved and thankful at the news.

A group of Diab's supporters also thanked the French magistrates for their decision, which they say was delivered without bowing to political and social pressure.

He was arrested in Quebec by the RCMP in November 2008 at the request of French authorities in connection with the attack, which killed four people.

Diab, a sociology professor, has always denied his involvement.

He was extradited to France in 2014 after the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear his case.

Bayne says the fact his extradition was went ahead without a strong case against him demonstrates it's time to correct the Extradition Act.