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“We will fight the accusations”

Whisked away from Ottawa before dawn with no chance to say farewell to his pregnant wife and 2-year old daughter, Dr. Hassan Diab remains in detention in the Paris vicinity. A French investigating magistrate placed Dr. Diab under judicial investigation (mis en examen) upon Hassan’s arrival in France. Dr. Diab can expect to be held in detention for nearly 2 years while waiting for the magistrate to conclude his investigation and decide whether or not to put him on trial.

Upon learning of the Canadian Supreme Court’s decision not to hear Hassan’s final appeal, Diab’s lawyer Donald Bayne, said “We now have the classic recipe for the wrongful conviction of a Canadian citizen.”

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Speaking of the unexpected swiftness with which Canada removed Dr. Diab, supporter Donald Pratt said, “This action by the Canadian government is inhumane to the point of cruel and unusual. This is not about Canada’s authority to do what it has done. This is about failing to respect standards of human decency.”

Hassan was extradited based on a discredited handwriting analysis report that was described by the Canadian extradition judge as “convoluted, very confusing, with conclusions that are suspect.” Extradition legal expert Dr. Gary Botting asked “How can you give any credence to anything that’s one sentence long and hang a guy with it?”

Jacqueline Hodgson, a law professor at the University of Warwick, said: “The case of Hassan Diab, a 60-year-old sociology professor who has been extradited to France, is a troubling one… The evidence against him hinges firstly on unsourced intelligence that would be inadmissible in a criminal court in England and Wales (reliability cannot be tested if the source of information and the manner in which it was obtained are unknown); and secondly on the opinion of a handwriting expert described as wholly unreliable by five of the world’s leading handwriting analysts.”

Hassan Diab is represented by French lawyer Stéphane Bonifassi. Speaking to the Canadian press, Mr. Bonifassi said, “Hassan is in good spirits and I would say in combative spirits. We will fight the accusations, and hopefully the fact that there is no evidence against my client will prevail and he will be set free.”

Hassan Diab Support Committee
diabsupport@gmail.com

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Profoundly Disappointing Supreme Court Decision

Today, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed Dr. Hassan Diab’s application for Leave to Appeal. Hassan, his family, and supporters are disappointed and dismayed by the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear his case, and to address the issues of serious public importance at stake. In response to the Supreme Court’s decision, Dr. Diab issued the following statement.

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Statement by Hassan Diab
November 13, 2014

I am deeply shocked that the Supreme Court refused to even hear the appeal in my case. This is a very sad day for me, my family and supporters, and the state of extradition law in Canada. I had hoped for justice from the Canadian legal system.

I have been living a Kafkaesque nightmare for over six years, fighting false allegations against me, enduring detention, strict bail conditions, the loss of my employment, and enormous stress on my family. It is beyond devastating that the Supreme Court would allow my extradition for a crime that I did not commit and based on a handwriting analysis report that was shown by world-renowned handwriting experts to be wholly unreliable, totally erroneous, and biased.

It is shocking that this would happen in Canada, despite the numerous commissions on wrongful convictions based on faulty forensic evidence and the Court’s vow to never let this happen again.

I, my family, friends, and supporters, will continue to fight the false allegations that have been imposed on me, a Canadian citizen who is law-abiding, peaceful, compassionate, and who abhors violence.

I am grateful and heartened by the outpouring of support from thousands of individuals and organizations that recognize the injustice that I have experienced and the unfairness of Canada’s extradition law. I am also deeply thankful to my devoted lawyers who tirelessly worked on my behalf for years.

I vow to never give up, and I will always remain hopeful that I will eventually return to my home in Canada and be reunited with my wife and children.

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Leave of Appeal Decision to be Released on Thursday November 13

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Dear Friends and Supporters,

On Thursday, November 13, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada will announce its decision on whether to grant leave to appeal in the extradition case of Dr. Hassan Diab. We are calling on supporters like you to come out and show your support.

Please join us for a rally at the Supreme Court of Canada on the day of the decision.

What: Rally to support reform of Canada’s extradition law and justice for Hassan
Place: Supreme Court of Canada, 301 Wellington Street, Ottawa — Map
Date: Thursday November 13, 2014
Time: Meet at 9:15 am sharp. We will wait for the decision which is expected to come out at around 9:30 am.

 
The Supreme Court represents Hassan’s last real chance for justice in Canada. If leave is granted, the case would be heard by the Supreme Court sometime in 2015. If leave is not granted, the government would extradite Hassan to France soon after the decision, where he would be incarcerated while the French authorities decide whether or not to put him on trial.

France’s anti-terrorism courts allow convictions based on secret information that is inadmissible in Canadian criminal trials. In Hassan’s case, France is also relying on a handwriting analysis report that has been thoroughly discredited by five leading handwriting experts. A trial conducted in these circumstances offends principles of fundamental justice and condemns an innocent man.

Please bring banners and signs calling for stopping Hassan’s extradition and reforming Canada’s extradition law. We are grateful for the support you have shown Hassan and his family since the beginning, and we look forward to seeing you on Thursday morning.

See: Background information

Hassan Diab Support Committee
diabsupport@gmail.com

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Supreme Court Decision on Leave to Appeal Expected Soon

  • The Supreme Court of Canada will soon release its decision on whether to grant leave to appeal in the extradition case of Dr. Hassan Diab. A hearing by the Supreme Court represents Hassan’s last chance in Canada to obtain justice.

    If extradited to France, Hassan would be tried under France’s anti-terrorism laws where secret intelligence from unknown sources is admitted as evidence. In Dr. Diab’s case, no one – not even the French judge – knows where the intelligence came from, the circumstances under which it was obtained, and whether or not it has any reliability. There is a real risk that this intelligence is the product of torture.

    Also alarming is the fact that a discredited handwriting analysis report remains in the dossier in France. The report claims that Dr. Diab’s handwriting resembles five words written by the suspect on a hotel registration card in 1980. Five internationally renowned handwriting experts found that the report is fatally flawed, utterly unreliable, and does not follow recognized methodology; in fact, the experts found that the evidence points to Dr. Diab’s innocence. The extradition judge himself described the report as “very problematic”, “convoluted”, “very confusing”, and “suspect”, but stated that he felt obliged under Ontario’s interpretation of the extradition law to commit Dr. Diab for extradition. It is worthwhile to note that two previous handwriting analysis reports that allegedly linked Dr. Diab to the suspect were withdrawn from the extradition hearing in Canada after Hassan’s lawyers showed that many of the documents that were “matched” to the suspect were not written by Hassan, but rather by someone else. While the French authorities withdrew these two reports from the extradition hearing in Canada, they too remain in the dossier in France.

    Questions of Public Importance Raised by Dr. Diab’s Case

    Hassan’s lawyers urged the Supreme Court of Canada to hear Dr. Diab’s appeal to resolve two constitutional questions of public importance.

    The first question relates to the correct interpretation of Ferras, the leading Supreme Court case on extradition. Appellate courts in Canada are deeply divided on this issue. Dr. Diab’s lawyers argue that Dr. Diab would have been discharged if his case were heard in British Columbia, given that the British Columbia Court of Appeal requires extradition judges to deny extraditions in cases, like Dr. Diab’s, in which the evidence as a whole is so unreliable that it would be unsafe to convict. In contrast, the Ontario Court of Appeal follows a more restrictive test, which limits the task of the extradition judge to examining individual pieces of evidence to determine whether they are “manifestly unreliable”. It does not permit extradition judges to weigh inferences, evaluate the strength of the case put forward, or deny extradition where the judge felt the case to be weak or a conviction unsafe.

    The second question is about protections afforded to Canadians by the Charter. It centers on whether a criminal trial which is based in part on anonymous intelligence that cannot be meaningfully tested ever meets the requirement of a fair process. If extradited to France, Dr. Diab would be tried on the basis of an anonymous intelligence report that no one – not even the French judge – knows where it came from, the circumstances under which it was obtained, and whether it has any reliability.

    Background

    See: Background Information

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    Statement of Support for Dr. Hassan Diab
    by Solidaires Union in France

    We condemn the wrongful termination of Professor Diab from Carleton University on the basis of an extradition request which neither respects the independence of the University nor the presumption of innocence of a man who has never been convicted of any crime. We condemn the fierceness of the French judicial system based on a weak case against a man who is not allowed to defend himself.

    We strongly condemn that secret information from unidentified sources, that may have been obtained under torture, can be used at court in France.

    We call for the immediate reinstatement of Mr. Diab at the University and the removal of his electronic bracelet.

    We call for an end to this hell inflicted upon Hassan Diab, and the end of the extradition request, as serious and transparent evidence as well as expertise of good quality have not been put forward, and as elements in defense of Mr. Diab have not been considered.

    We must ensure that the real perpetrators of the Rue Copernic crime are brought to justice, but prosecution based on such a weak case cannot lead to the truth.

    Read the full statement: