Ottawa Citizen Editorial:
“Trudeau must speak out on Hassan Diab”

“Justin Trudeau once proclaimed that ‘A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.’ But if the Canadian’s name is Hassan Diab, the government would prefer not to speak up. That’s no longer good enough…

“Amnesty, which believes his detention contravenes human rights norms, has written to Trudeau, Freeland and Justice Minister Jody Wilson­Raybould asking them to try to secure Diab’s release on bail…

“[T]he legal evidence that he committed one seems to be slowly unravelling and the time being taken by the French to figure things out is unconscionable…

“Canada can do better than maintain a shy silence. Trudeau must insist on concrete action one way or another from France. In democratic countries, we don’t hold people in jail indefinitely without trial or freedom.”

Read the full Ottawa Citizen Editorial:
    • “Trudeau must speak out on Hassan Diab”, Ottawa Citizen Editorial Board, June 23, 2017

Sign the petition to the Government of Canada to Bring Hassan Home:

Amnesty International Calls for
End to Hassan Diab’s Imprisonment as
New Evidence Further Confirms His Innocence

Amnesty International calls Dr. Hassan Diab’s continued imprisonment “a violation of international human rights norms”. Additional independent witnesses and official documents further confirm Diab not in France at time of 1980 Paris bombing.

On Wednesday, June 21, 2017, Amnesty International, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), and the Hassan Diab Support Committee held a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, urging the Canadian government to intervene with the French authorities to release Canadian citizen Dr. Hassan Diab on bail without delay.

Alex Neve, the Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada stated that “Canada cannot casually stand by while the rights of a Canadian citizen continue to be so blatantly violated over what has now become an agonizingly prolonged period of time – violated by an ally from whom we should expect and demand so much better. Two and a half years is far too long for anyone’s rights to be violated so cavalierly. When it involves a Canadian citizen, the Canadian government must act, and they must act now.”

Don Bayne, Hassan Diab’s Canadian lawyer said, “There is overwhelming evidence that an innocent man is being detained for an extensive and arbitrary period of time. Hassan has always stated that he is fully innocent. French investigators now say the evidence confirms his innocence. He has become in effect a political prisoner of the terror trauma in France [and French authorities] who do not want to look soft on terror.”

Chantal Vallerand spoke on behalf of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, saying “CAUT is the national voice of 70,000 academic and general staff at over 120 universities and colleges across Canada. We’ve been gravely concerned by the violations of Hassan Diab’s civil liberties and human rights. We are today urging the government of Canada to intervene with French authorities in order to secure Dr. Diab’s release on bail. The Canadian government has a duty to protect the rights of its citizens and to uphold international human rights.”

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) echoed similar calls for the Canadian government to bring Diab home.

In a significant development that solidifies Diab’s innocence, six independent witnesses testified that Diab was a student in Beirut in September and October 1980, and that he was studying for the exams and wrote and passed them at that time. This was confirmed by official documents from the university where Diab studied.

In a letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, and Parliamentary Secretary Omar Alghabra, Amnesty Canada expressed alarm at the continued detention of Mr. Diab and concern at the “apparently arbitrary decisions to continue to block Mr. Diab’s release on bail”. It added that “Mr. Diab’s continuing detention in these circumstances contravenes France’s obligations under European and international human rights norms. The French Section of Amnesty International has raised our concerns about Mr. Diab’s case directly with the French government. Amnesty International urges the Canadian government to intervene with French authorities as well. We specifically urge that the Canadian government advocate for Hassan Diab’s release on bail without any further delay.”

Diab was extradited from Canada to France in November 2014 in connection with a 1980 bombing outside a synagogue in Paris. He has been held in pre-trial detention in France for over 2 ½ years. French investigating judges have delivered so far 6 judicial orders that Diab be released on bail, stating that there is “consistent evidence” that Diab was not in France at the time of the 1980 Paris attack. However, each time the prosecutor appealed and the French Court of Appeal quashed the release orders because of the political climate in France.

For more information:
Hassan Diab Support Committee

Call to Action on June 21:
Please Phone PM Trudeau to
Free Hassan Diab!

June 21st marks Dr. Hassan Diab’s third summer incarcerated in France away from his family in Ottawa, Canada. We have an important, indeed urgent, request of you…

On Wednesday June 21st, please telephone Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and ask him to intervene with the French government and request Hassan’s release and return to his home in Canada.

We need to have as many of these calls as possible from different parts of the country on the same day to amplify our message. We also suggest that you ask a friend to call. You and your friend can also call the Prime Minister’s constituency office.

It is possible that you will not get through to an assistant, but only to an answering machine or service. That’s OK. Please leave a message in your own words using the text below as template. It is best to call during business hours. In addition to phoning, you may also consider sending a fax if you have access to a fax machine.

Mr. Justin Trudeau, House of Commons:
Phone: 1 (613) 992-4211
Fax: 1 (613) 941-6900

Constituency Office (Papineau, Quebec):
Phone: 1 (514) 277-6020

Template Message:
“Hello. My name is ______________. I am a supporter of Justice for Dr. Hassan Diab and I am calling to ask why the Canadian government and Prime Minister Trudeau have not intervened to secure Hassan Diab’s release. Hassan has been in prison in France for almost three years, despite the fact that there is consistent evidence that he is innocent. Three different French judges have ordered his release six times, yet he remains in prison. This is a violation of Hassan’s rights, and we insist that the Prime Minister intervene with the new French government and ask for Hassan Diab’s immediate return to Canada. To do less dishonors Canada and Canadians.
I look forward to your response. You can call me personally at ______________.”

Thank you for your support in the struggle to free Dr. Hassan Diab.

Hassan Diab Support Committee

Amnesty International Press Conference on
Dr. Hassan Diab’s Case

Amnesty International is holding a press conference on Dr. Hassan Diab’s case, calling on the Canadian government to intervene and ensure Dr. Diab is released from prison in France without delay.

When: Wednesday, June 21, 2017, 1:00 pm (EST)
Where: Charles Lynch Room, Centre Block, Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Canada — map

Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada, and Chantal Vallerand, of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, will speak at the press conference, as will Dr. Diab’s Canadian lawyer Don Bayne, and Hassan’s wife Rania. The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association will also make statements at the press conference.

New evidence of Dr. Diab’s innocence uncovered by the French investigating judge in the last few days will be presented at the press conference.

A live stream of the press conference can be followed, starting at 1:00 pm (EST), on the ICLMG Facebook page:

Open Letter to
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON, K1A 0A2

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

We address this Open Letter to you on behalf of the thousands of Canadians who are deeply concerned by the rapidly deteriorating legal situation of Dr. Hassan Diab, a Canadian citizen wrongfully jailed overseas. We are requesting an emergency meeting with you to discuss Dr. Diab’s case in the hope that an urgent solution may be found to remedy the miscarriage of justice of which he is victim.

Dr. Diab is an Ottawa University professor and father of two young Canadian children who has been jailed for over two and a half years in France as a result of a controversial and legally questionable extradition proceeding commenced by the previous Conservative government.

You may have heard of this unique case, in which Dr. Diab was sought by the French for a crime he did not commit. Dr. Diab’s finger prints, palm prints, physical description, and handwriting do not match those of the suspect sought for the October 1980 bombing in Paris that tragically killed four people. Dr. Diab has consistently denied involvement and condemned the violence, while French investigating judges have recently confirmed that he was in Lebanon at the time of the bombing. This confirms that he was not even in France, so could not have participated in the bombing.

Of critical concern is the fact that Dr. Diab has been ordered released on bail six times over the past year by investigating judges in charge of his case, but on each occasion the Court of Appeal overturned all release orders at the prosecutor’s behest. French lawyers have called this situation unprecedented, a political manoeuvre to look tough on terror even though a vast body of evidence shows Dr. Diab did not commit the crime.

The inability of Dr. Diab to obtain release from a cell in which he is confined 20 hours a day – even while two investigating judges have called for such a judicially-sanctioned release – recalls the frustrations of other Canadians wrongfully held overseas, such as journalist Mohamed Fahmy.

We know you are familiar with Mr. Fahmy’s case, because you issued a powerful statement on his behalf while in opposition, saying that then Prime Minister Stephen Harper “has an obligation to use the full force of the Prime Minister’s Office to help Canadian citizens when they are unjustly imprisoned abroad. His inaction must end today.”

We believe it is time for you to consider how to employ the same forceful use of your office in this case as well, and we therefore seek this urgent meeting to discuss how we might proceed with a unified voice in defence of the rights of a Canadian citizen who finds himself caught in a web of state security politics.

The unprecedented denial of Dr. Diab’s right to a small measure of liberty while awaiting the ultimate outcome of his case would rightly be condemned had it occurred in Egypt or Iraq or China, yet your government has been silent in the face of this injustice. It’s the latest setback in a long-running saga that starts with a case that the Canadian extradition judge called “weak,”, “convoluted,” and “confusing,” adding “the prospects of conviction in the context of a fair trial seem unlikely”.

Prime Minister Trudeau, we urgently need to discuss how you can add your voice to the thousands* across this land who are calling for Hassan Diab to be brought home to his family. Many have expressed profound doubts about the case, including, most recently, the former Canadian Jewish Congress director and high-profile human rights activist Bernie Farber, who wrote, “there are undoubtedly serious issues here to be deeply considered. After all, a man is in prison, French Courts seem all over the place and in the end justice must not only be done but it must be seen to be done.”

Dr. Diab’s lawyer, Donald Bayne, one of this nation’s most respected litigators, calls this “the classic recipe for the wrongful conviction of a Canadian citizen.”

Faisal Kutty, an associate professor at Valparaiso University Law School in Indiana and an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, writes in the May 4 Toronto Star that the case is a travesty, adding “Prime Minister Trudeau in the past had called on the Harper government to intervene in such situations. Indeed, Trudeau has spoken out in the past in defence of citizens. Diab’s case is ripe for such an intervention.”

This case glaringly calls out for the intervention of the Canadian Government. We firmly believe that a meeting with key members of Dr. Diab’s support group would not only help clarify any questions you might have, but also lead to the development of a multi-pronged strategy to not only win Dr. Diab bail, but also bring him home where he belongs.

Dr. Diab’s Kafkaesque predicament stems from the actions of a previous government. Those actions cannot be undone. However, your government has the power to ultimately mitigate and bring about an end to the harm and suffering that he and his family continue to experience on a daily basis.

We look forward to agreeing on a time and date for this emergency meeting.


Justice for Hassan Diab Support Committee

* Hassan Diab has been supported by prominent organizations such as the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA), British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA), Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) and many other organizations and unions, as well as eminent individuals such as Hassan Yussuff (President of the Canadian Labor Congress), Noam Chomsky (Professor Emeritus of Linguistics, MIT), Jim Turk (Former Executive Director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers and distinguished visiting professor at Ryerson University), Rabbi David Mivisair (Ahavat Olam Congregation), Gerald Caplan (Africa scholar and a former NDP national director) and countless others.