July 30, 2018
Dear Friends and Supporters,
Please sign our petition calling on the Government of Canada to conduct a thorough and independent public inquiry into Dr. Hassan Diab’s extradition case, so no other Canadian would go through the unjust process he and his family had to endure.
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Hassan’s Legal Odyssey Continues
On July 6, 2018, the French Court of Appeal was set to rule on whether to uphold the decision of the investigating judges who found that Hassan could not have been involved in the tragic bombing outside a Paris synagogue in 1980 and consequently cleared him of all allegations. Rather than issue its much-anticipated ruling, the Court of Appeal announced on July 6 that the decision is delayed as new documents which arrived from Greece were yet to be translated. The court is set to reconvene in September to hear arguments related to these documents. This latest delay by the French Court of Appeal prolongs Hassan’s Kafkaesque legal odyssey.
Hassan was extradited to France in 2014 even though the Canadian extradition judge found that the evidence against Hassan is “very problematic”, “convoluted”, “illogical”, and “suspect”. In 2016 and 2017, four French judges ordered Hassan’s conditional release from jail eight times, but each time the French prosecutor appealed, and the French Court of Appeal overturned the release orders due to the political climate in France. Hassan’s lawyers in France, William Bourdon, Apolline Cagnat, and Amélie Lefebvre, remarked at the time, “After 36 years and since no one was indicted, the Court of Appeal is clinging on to Hassan Diab… because of the judges’ fear to be accused of laxity in the context of today’s fight against terrorism in France. Such a situation would be inconceivable in an ordinary-law procedure.”
Hassan’s wife, Rania, reacted to the delay by saying, “The French authorities have had since 1980 to investigate the case. Hassan was arrested by the RCMP in 2008. So this has been over 10 years of our lives. And on the day of the decision they are reopening the debate. Should we wait for another 20 years or 30 years for this nightmare to end and for us to be able to live our lives?”
Call for an Independent Public Inquiry into Dr. Diab’s Case
Numerous fingerprint analyses have consistently excluded Hassan as a suspect in the 1980 bombing. CBC News reported that French authorities did not disclose to the court in Canada key fingerprint analysis of the hotel registration card (which was filled by the suspect in 1980) that exonerates Hassan. The court in Canada was told that no such evidence existed, when in fact the fingerprint evidence was available in early 2008, many months before France requested Hassan’s extradition. Moreover, in 2009 a senior lawyer at the Canadian Department of Justice (DOJ) requested another fingerprint analysis as he believed that the evidence would be “very powerful” in getting Hassan extradited. When the RCMP fingerprint analysis excluded Hassan, the DOJ lawyer did not disclose this fact to the extradition court in Canada or to the defense.
These revelations point to a long, troubling pattern of injustice in Hassan’s case and the role that government officials within the Canadian Department of Justice, played in Hassan’s ordeal.
Recently, the Canadian Department of Justice announced it will conduct an “external review” of Hassan’s extradition. However, an external review falls far short of an independent inquiry and will not lead to meaningful reform, especially since the review will not examine Canada’s deeply flawed Extradition Act.
Numerous civil society organizations and politicians from across the spectrum are championing Hassan’s cause and calling for a public inquiry.
A public inquiry convened under the Inquiries Act, led by a retired or current judge with the power to compel witnesses and full access to documents, is needed to thoroughly investigate Hassan’s case, said Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada.
In an opinion piece in the Globe and Mail, 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) wrote, “By its nature, a review looks backward. Clearly that is necessary to know what happened in the Diab case. 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.”
We urge you add your voice and sign the petition calling for a public inquiry.
For More Information
“Decision in Hassan Diab appeal delayed after sudden appearance of new evidence”, CBC News, July 6, 2018.
“Hassan Diab to boycott external review of 2014 extradition to France”, CBC News, July 14, 2018.
“Hassan Diab: Nothing Less Than a Public Inquiry Will Do”, by Michelle Weinroth, The Bullet, July 11, 2018.
Hassan Diab Support Committee