“My life has been turned upside down because of unfounded allegations and suspicions. I am innocent of the accusations against me.
I have never engaged in terrorism. I am not an anti-Semite.
I have always been opposed to bigotry and violence.”
Dr. Hassan Diab, speaking at a press conference in Ottawa, Canada
Dr. Hassan Diab is a Canadian academic of Lebanese descent who is facing extradition to France for questioning regarding an attack near a Paris synagogue in 1980. Hassan has never been charged with any crime, yet since 2008 he has either been imprisoned or living under very strict bail conditions that include paying $2,000 per month for a GPS device he is required to wear at all times.
The case against Hassan is anchored in secret intelligence from unknown sources. The intelligence cannot be tested or challenged in a court of law and carries the real risk of being derived from torture.
In 2011, a Canadian judge decided to commit Dr. Diab to extradition based solely on a handwriting analysis report that alleges that Hassan’s handwriting resembles five words on a Paris hotel registration card from 1980. Five internationally renowned experts testified that the report is based on fundamentally flawed methodology and is totally absurd, unscientific, and biased. The experts pointed out that the evidence actually points away from Hassan. The extradition judge himself described the handwriting analysis report as “very problematic”, “very confusing”, “convoluted”, and with “conclusions that are suspect”. Yet the judge ruled that he is required under Ontario’s interpretation of Canada’s extradition law to commit Dr. Diab for extradition.
In the extradition proceedings, Hassan was prevented from introducing evidence that shows that his palm prints do not match those of the suspect. Hassan has repeatedly affirmed that he is willing to answer questions from French authorities in Canada. He has also offered to take a lie detector test, but there has been no response to both offers.
Canada’s Unfair Extradition Law
Hassan’s case points to glaring problems with Canada’s extradition law. In extradition cases, the Charter rights of the person sought are severely compromised. Canadian standards of evidence do not apply. The standard for extradition is so low that Canada hands people over to other countries based on evidence that is not acceptable in Canadian courts. Evidence submitted by the foreign country is presumed reliable, and the ability of the person sought to challenge the case is severely limited. Even though Hassan’s finger prints and palm prints do not match those of the suspect, he was prevented from introducing this evidence in court. Canada has extradition treaties with countries that allow secret intelligence, including intelligence that may have been the product of torture, to be used as evidence at trial. Moreover, Canada’s extradition law is unbalanced, as Canada extradites its citizens to countries that do not extradite their own citizens (France, in this case).
- “Canada’s Extradition Law: The Least Fair Act on Earth”, by Gary Botting, Prism Magazine, June 17, 2011
- “Human rights groups sound alarm over Diab extradition evidence”, Ottawa Citizen, July 3, 2013
- “The Extradition Case of Dr. Hassan Diab”, Canadian Dimension, October 15, 2013
- “Diplomacy Must not Trump Justice”, Ottawa Citizen, October 29, 2013