Opinion piece in the Globe and Mail by Joe Clark, former Progressive Conservative Prime Minister of Canada; Monique Bégin, former Liberal Minister of Health; and Ed Broadbent, former leader of the New Democratic Party.
“Dr. Hassan Diab, a Canadian citizen, was extradited to France in 2014. He was then held without charge in solitary confinement for more than three years… [O]n January 12 of this year, the two French investigative judges responsible for his case issued their decision confirming that there was insufficient evidence for laying charges. Most important, the same two judges had found solid evidence that Dr. Diab was studying in Beirut at the time of the 1980 Paris bomb attack. Dr. Diab was immediately released from prison and was able to return to Canada and his family a few days later…
On May 30, the Minister [of Justice in Canada] announced ‘an external independent review.’ By its nature, a review looks backward. Clearly that is necessary to know what happened in the Diab case. But it is equally essential to look forward and identify what changes are needed in the practices of the Department of Justice or other agencies, to ensure adequate legal protection of Canadians who may find themselves in a similar situation in the future. Canadians facing extradition deserve the full protection afforded by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That would be best achieved by a fully independent public inquiry, able to ensure full transparency and accountability, and provide objective and considered recommendations for reform.
Dr. Diab’s torment should never have happened. Nor should it be repeated.”
Help us reform Canada’s Extradition Act so no other Canadian would go through what Hassan and his family have endured. Please sign our Parliamentary petition calling on the Government of Canada to conduct a thorough and independent public inquiry into Hassan’s extradition case.
Video: Press Conference in Ottawa, on May 30, 2018, Calling for a Public Inquiry
Petition Text Whereas:
Canadian citizen Dr. Hassan Diab was wrongfully extradited from Canada based on unreliable and false evidence;
Hassan was extradited solely for the purpose of continuing an incomplete foreign investigation; not for trial as required;
Hassan spent almost ten years under draconian bail conditions in Canada or imprisoned, including over three years in solitary confinement in France;
French investigative judges repeatedly stated that there is “consistent evidence” of Hassan’s innocence. In January 2018, the judges dismissed all allegations against Hassan, allowing him to return to his home in Canada;
Hassan has never been charged;
Hassan’s ten-year ordeal was the direct consequence of actions of senior officials of the Canadian Department of Justice;
When the case was falling apart, Department of Justice officials intervened to direct French authorities on how to patch up the case to ensure Hassan’s extradition;
Department of Justice officials repeatedly delayed the extradition hearing and told the Canadian court that they had no knowledge of French authorities’ plans despite having directed those plans; and
Department of Justice officials requested fingerprint analysis as the results could be very powerful if not conclusive to get Hassan extradited; yet when the RCMP analysis results excluded Hassan, Department of Justice officials deliberately withheld this evidence from the court and the defence.
We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to appoint an independent commissioner to conduct a thorough public inquiry into Hassan Diab’s case, ensuring that the person appointed has full access to, and powers to compel disclosure of, any and all relevant information.
We are deeply honoured and delighted that Hassan Diab, Rania Tfaily, and Don Bayne will receive the 2018 Reg Robson award from the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) on behalf of the Hassan Diab Support Committee.
The Reg Robson award is given annually to honour substantial contributions to the cause of civil liberties in British Columbia and Canada. This is the BCCLA’s longest standing and most prestigious award.
The Hassan Diab Support Committee, led by Hassan’s wife Rania and counselled by Don Bayne for ten years (on a pro bono basis), played an instrumental role in the release of Hassan from a French jail in 2018 and his return to his home and family in Canada. Mr. Bayne’s and the committee’s successful efforts to free Hassan from his unjust imprisonment are an inspiration, and their ongoing challenge to the unfairness of Canada’s Extradition Act has a profound impact on Canadian public life. They exemplify what it means to be human rights champions.
Recent CBC coverage of Dr. Hassan Diab’s ordeal highlights the role the Canadian Department of Justice played in facilitating Hassan’s extradition to France. When the case against Hassan was falling apart, after the defense discredited the French handwriting analysis, Senior Department of Justice lawyers urged French authorities to produce “new” handwriting analysis. Justice Department lawyers also suppressed fingerprint evidence showing Hassan’s innocence.
We urge you to join us in calling for an independent public inquiry into Hassan’s case and reforming Canada’s extradition law so that no other Canadian is subjected to such a flawed and unfair process. We do not have faith in an internal review by the Department of Justice which, in the first place, was responsible for Hassan’s ordeal.
Amnesty International Canada and the BC Civil Liberties Association sent an open letter to the Canadian Ministers of Justice and Foreign Affairs calling on them to launch a thorough public inquiry into Hassan’s case. Also, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) called for an independent public inquiry into Hassan’s treatment. MP Murray Rankin, Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, raised Hassan’s case in Parliament and called for an independent public inquiry.
We ask you to add your voice by writing to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, calling upon him to launch a thorough, independent public inquiry into Hassan’s case. Please copy the Ministers of Justice and Foreign Affairs and your member of Parliament on your letter, and share your correspondence with firstname.lastname@example.org.
After a very long three years and two months, Hassan arrived in Ottawa on Monday January 15, 2018. His wife, Rania, and their children were there to welcome him back home. We are grateful that Foreign Affairs was able to help bring Hassan back to Canada. For a video of Hassan’s press conference, click here.
As you might have heard, this is not the end of Hassan’s ordeal. There will be an appeal of the release decision. So, the outcome remains uncertain, and we’re not completely out of the woods yet. But for now, we can say that justice prevailed and Hassan is back in Canada and that is worth celebrating.
As members of the Hassan Diab Support Committee, we send you our BIGGEST HEARTFELT THANK YOU!
So many of you have been supporting Hassan in various ways for many years. Thank you for your donations that covered various legal costs, for writing to politicians, for phoning PM Trudeau, for signing petitions, for showing up at vigils (despite the freezing weather), and for your kind messages of support.
Over and over you helped us and kept us going. You also kept Hassan and his family going. We are immensely grateful. Let us hope this is the end of a long, difficult road.