In this issue:
- Update on Dr. Hassan Diab
- Why We Are Concerned
- Statement by Independent Jewish Voices – Canada
- How You Can Help
Dr. Hassan remains incarcerated at Fleury-Merogis prison (near Paris) since he was extradited from Canada on November 14, 2014. He is expected to remain in prison for up to two years while awaiting a decision about whether his case will be brought to trial. Hassan was not in France at the time of the 1980 rue Copernic bombing. His palm prints and fingerprints do not match those of the suspect. He is not an anti-Semite, and he strongly condemns all forms of bigotry and violence.
In prison, Hassan is in a special unit which holds 4-8 inmates. He is confined to his cell for 20 hours a day. When he is allowed to leave his cell, he can access a small exercise room, a small collection of books, and can interact with the other inmates in his unit. He is denied access to the general prison services, including the main library and sports field. Hassan’s sleep is often interrupted by the guards turning on the lights every hour at night. The food provided to inmates is often insufficient, so they often need to supplement it by purchasing additional items from the prison canteen.
The hardest part for Hassan is being separated from his family in Canada – his wife, his toddler daughter, and his infant son who was born after he was extradited. He communicates with his family mostly through letters. He is not allowed to receive phone calls. He must initiate calls to the outside world himself, and only to approved phone numbers. For the first five months, he was having great difficulty calling his wife in Ottawa, despite repeated requests to prison authorities to resolve this problem. Since April 17, he has been able to connect with his wife. We hope that the phone issue is now resolved.
Hassan is an avid reader and is very thankful for all the letters and books he receives from family and friends. He has been learning French.
Hassan was denied bail despite his French lawyer agreeing to very strict bail conditions, including house arrest and electronic monitoring. Hassan appealed the decision and was denied bail on appeal. This is despite the fact that he fully complied with similarly strict bail conditions in Canada for years. In refusing bail, the court relied on the unsourced intelligence and discredited handwriting analysis that remain in the dossier in France. The fact that Hassan’s fingerprints and palm prints do not match those of the suspect was not taken into consideration. The court also denied Hassan the opportunity to appear in person at the bail hearing; he could only appear via video-link.
Despite the hardship of incarceration, Hassan remains hopeful that he will be exonerated and will return to his home in Canada. He extends his deepest gratitude to his supporters for their steadfast support. He draws strength from your support and the hope that justice will one day be achieved. Your support gives Hassan a real chance for justice and hope to return home!
There is a real risk that Hassan may be wrongfully convicted under France’s anti-terrorism laws due to the circumstances surrounding his case.
The Canadian extradition judge described the evidence in the case as “very problematic”, “convoluted”, “very confusing”, and “suspect”. He said that “the prospects of conviction in the context of a fair trial seem unlikely”, but stated that Canada’s extradition law left him no choice but to commit Hassan to extradition. French evidence, discarded from the Canadian extradition hearing because it failed to meet the low standard for extradition, remains in the dossier for use at trial in France. Specifically:
- Hassan was extradited based on a handwriting analysis report that compared his handwriting to five words written by the suspect on a hotel registration card in 1980. Five world-renowned handwriting experts testified that this report is fatally flawed and does not follow any recognized methodology. Two previous handwriting reports against Hassan were withdrawn from the extradition hearing in Canada after it was demonstrated that samples used in the comparison were actually written by someone other than Hassan. All three handwriting reports remain in the dossier in France to be used against Hassan at trial.
- The case against Hassan is anchored in secret intelligence. No one knows the source of this intelligence or the circumstances under which it was obtained. There is a real risk that the intelligence may be the product of torture. Human Rights Watch has documented the use of secret intelligence and unfair trials under France’s anti-terrorism laws. The intelligence in the case against Hassan was withdrawn from the extradition hearing in Canada in recognition of its extremely problematic nature. However, the intelligence remains in the dossier in France to be used against Hassan at trial.
We are very concerned that Hassan will not receive a fair trial in France, especially in the current climate of Islamophobia and heightened concerns about terrorism. The strong desire to resolve a decades old deadly crime also threatens the fairness of the process.
Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) of Canada recently issued a statement in support of Hassan. The statement reads, in part:
“Independent Jewish Voices of Canada is very concerned that Dr. Diab will not be granted a fair trial in France. It appears that France’s anti-terrorism laws and use of secret evidence will be used unjustly against Dr. Diab to push for a conviction.
We call on the government of France to abandon its case against Dr. Diab so that he can avoid being the victim of a wrongful conviction. Dr. Diab is being detained in a foreign state on charges for which he has no connection.”
See the full IJV statement at:
SHARE with us contact information of people and organisations in France and elsewhere in Europe whom we may contact to inform them about Hassan’s case. If you contact people and organisations directly, please copy your messages to firstname.lastname@example.org. Sample letters are available at:
JOIN the Bring Hassan Home campaign and make a statement of support for Dr. Hassan Diab by making a financial contribution to help cover the costs of his legal defence in France. You can view the current list of signatories at:
Hassan Diab Support Committee