“[W]e must not remain silent as Canadian citizen and Ottawa professor Hassan Diab faces conviction in France for a gruesome crime for which no credible evidence against him has been presented…
Recent developments in Diab’s case reinforce the need to end his Kafkaesque nightmare. A French judge ordered Diab’s release on bail due to doubts about the evidence in the case. On May 14, 2016, Hassan was released on bail. The prosecutor appealed the judge’s decision and, after spending 10 days out of prison, Hassan was ordered to return to prison. It was an injustice to extradite him in the first place, and it is an injustice to keep him incarcerated while France continues a 35-year investigation.
It has become obvious that broad and sustained pressure in both Canada and France is needed so Diab receives a fair process and is allowed to return to his home and family in Canada. Otherwise, Diab will be wrongfully convicted of a crime to which he has no connection.”
Thank you for a most successful event at the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa on May 20, where there was a “sneak preview” of the short documentary on Hassan’s case, directed by filmmaker Amar Wala.
At the event, Donald Bayne, Hassan’s Canadian lawyer, was guest speaker; Baraa Arar presented some of her own powerful poems; and Hassan’s wife, Rania, spoke from the heart. It was heartwarming to see the outpouring of support for Hassan.
Here’s a video of the presentation by Mr. Donald Bayne:
After his release on bail on May 14, 2016, under house arrest and electronic monitoring, an appeal court in France ordered Dr. Hassan Diab to return to a French prison on May 24, 2016. The unfortunate decision was based on the appeal court’s assumption that Dr. Diab is a flight risk and a threat to civil order. This is despite the fact that Hassan abided by very strict bail conditions for years in Canada and did not flee or cause civil disorder during his 10 days of limited freedom leading up to the appeal court’s decision.
Prior to the appeal court’s decision, Mr. William Bourdon, Hassan’s French attorney, had stated “The court of appeal mentioned the risk of fleeing as a reason to overrule the decision to release Hassan Diab. He will be present at the next hearing so this will prove to the court of appeal that he never intended to flee, as was the case in the whole extradition procedure in Canada.”
Dr. Rania Tfaily, Hassan’s wife, was planning to travel to Paris with the couple’s two young children in the hope they could interact with Hassan outside the prison environment. “Now even this simple dream has been crushed,” she said. “I hope that this [Canadian] government will look into the injustices in Hassan’s case and why a Canadian citizen is being held in detention for more than 18 months for a case that is still under investigation and for which a Canadian judge found the evidence to be lacking.”
Please sign the following statement calling upon Canada to BRING HASSAN HOME:
“This week, a French judge decided to order the release of Hassan Diab while an investigation into his case continues. It is both ironic and embarrassing to see a French judge decide to do what a Canadian judge should have done many years ago: order Hassan Diab a free man!
… It is important that Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould immediately demand that her French counterpart let Hassan Diab return to Canada to reunite with his wife and children. Due process is not a luxury: it is a pillar of our justice system and Hassan Diab deserves no less.”
After 18 months in pre-trial detention in France for a crime he did not commit, a French judge released Dr. Hassan Diab on bail on May 14.
The prosecutor has filed an appeal of Hassan’s release, which will be heard by an appeal court early next week. His French lawyer, Mr. William Bourdon, said Hassan will be in court for next week’s appeal, effectively negating the prosecution grounds for returning him to jail.
Mr. Bourdon said, “He [Hassan] will be present at the next hearing so this will prove to the court of appeal that he never intended to flee, as was the case in the whole extradition procedure in Canada.”
In 2011, when the Canadian extradition judge ruled in favor of extradition, he described the evidence as “very problematic” and “suspect”. In an unprecedented move, the Canadian judge stated that “the prospects of conviction in the context of a fair trial seem unlikely”. However the judge said that he felt obliged under Canada’s extradition law to commit Hassan to extradition.
Hassan and his family express their gratitude and thanks to supporters who have stood by them since his ordeal began in Canada in 2008.