For Immediate Release
2 May 2017, Ottawa – On Tuesday, May 2nd, the French Court of Appeal overturned once again the release order of Dr. Hassan Diab at the prosecutor’s behest. Over the past year, Dr. Diab has been ordered released six times by French anti-terrorism investigative judges, but his release orders have been repeatedly overturned. The investigative judges found that there is “consistent evidence” that Diab was in Lebanon at the time of the 1980 Paris bombing and stated that this finding demands his release.
William Bourdon, Hassan’s lawyer in France, noted that it is unprecedented in France to have multiple release orders by the investigative judges overturned. He noted that “after 36 years and since no one else was indicted, the Court of Appeal is clinging on to Hassan Diab. He is detained 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.”
Diab’s supporters are calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to live up to his words that Canada is back on the world stage and looking out for its citizens. In August 2015, Trudeau said that then-Prime Minister 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.” *
Supporters are calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to speak out publicly and use the full force of his office to help Canadian citizen Hassan Diab, who is in the extraordinary situation of remaining behind bars despite being ordered released an unprecedented six times.
Don Bayne, Dr. Diab’s Canadian lawyer, noted that “Dr. Diab’s continued incarceration is wholly and manifestly unjust. It is past time for this government to come to the aid of a Canadian citizen, to end this travesty of justice, to bring him home. ‘Prime Minister Trudeau, Minister Freeland, where are you when an innocent Canadian needs you?’ ”
Roger Clark, the former Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada, remarked that “This travesty of justice continues solely for political reasons, there being no legal basis for Dr. Diab’s continuing imprisonment. Rather than acknowledge that an egregious error has been perpetrated, French authorities insist on maintaining their cruel charade against a background of widespread islamophobia and a fear of appearing weak on terrorism. Canada must immediately convey to the French Government the urgency of preventing further distortion of justice and of ensuring Hassan Diab’s speedy return to his home and family.”
In May 2016, Dr. Diab was ordered released on bail by the French investigative judge and the judge of freedom and detention. He spent ten days out on bail in Paris without incident, before his release order was overturned by the same panel of Court of Appeal judges which has repeatedly denied him bail.
Dr. Hassan Diab was extradited from Canada to France in November 2014, for investigation regarding the bombing of a Paris synagogue in 1980. The Canadian extradition judge described the evidence against Hassan as “illogical”, “very problematic”, and “convoluted”. However, the Canadian judge stated that the low threshold for evidence under Canada’s extradition law left him no choice but to commit Dr. Diab to extradition.
For more information:
Hassan Diab Support Committee