“Bring Hassan Home”
In this issue:
- Eighth Release Order by Fourth French Judge Overturned; Hassan Diab Begins Fourth Year in Detention
- How You Can Help
- Notes from Visits to Hassan in Prison
- Screening of “Rubber Stamped” Documentary at the Mirror Mountain Film Festival, December 1, Ottawa
On November 6, 2017, a fourth French judge ordered Dr. Hassan Diab’s conditional release from prison. This was the eighth release order by four different French judges. However, the French prosecutor immediately appealed, and once again the French Court of Appeal overturned the release order.
On November 20, Hassan marked his fourth Birthday in detention. He remains confined to his cell 20 hours a day, torn from his home and family in Canada, despite his innocence.
Numerous high-profile Canadians have signed an Open Letter urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to use the full force of his office to bring Hassan home. These individuals include lawyer and former politician Bob Rae; Members of Parliament Don Davies, Elizabeth May, and Kennedy Stewart; politician and broadcaster Stephen Lewis; filmmakers Atom Egoyan, Avi Lewis, and Sarah Polley; authors Naomi Klein, Yann Martel, Monia Mazigh, and Nino Ricci.
For more information about the latest developments in Dr. Diab’s case:
Dr. Hassan Diab must not be imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. Please help prevent his wrongful conviction. Any bit you do will go a long way towards bringing Hassan home. Here are some ways you can help.
(a) WRITE to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other Canadian Government officials, and urge them to bring Hassan back to his home and family in Canada. Address your letters to:
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Chrystia Freeland – email@example.com
- Minister of Justice, Ms. Jody Wilson-Raybould – Jody.Wilson-Raybould@parl.gc.ca
- Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Omar Alghabra – Omar.Alghabra@parl.gc.ca
A sample letter is available:
Please share a copy of your correspondence with firstname.lastname@example.org
(b) SIGN the petition “Trudeau: Pick up the Phone, Call Macron, Bring Hassan Diab Home”, urging PM Trudeau to call his counterpart, French President Emmanuel Macron, and work with him on releasing Hassan and returning him to Canada.
To sign the petition, please visit:
(c) PUBLICISE Dr. Hassan Diab’s plight among your networks and on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), so more people are aware of the injustices he is facing.
Hassan is immensely thankful to his supporters for standing by him over the years. Despite the setbacks, he remains hopeful he will be exonerated and reunited with his family in Canada.
Two supporters recently visited Hassan in prison in France. Here are some excerpts from notes they wrote about their visits.
Tuesday November 7, 2017:
I visited Hassan on Tuesday, 7 November 2017. Obtaining the visitor’s permit took the best part of three weeks, involving three separate bureaucratic steps. My appointment was for 9:00 am, but the ensuing security and waiting meant that the actual time with Hassan began closer to 10:00 am and lasted the regulation 45 minutes.
The meeting room (“parloir”) is a small (14’ x 6’) room with a small table and three black plastic chairs. There is a door at each end, electronically controlled, with a small window for inspection purposes. One door is for the visitor, and the other is for the prisoner who is brought in several minutes after the visitor has been let into the room and locked in. Nobody moves around any part of the prison without an escort of one or more guards.
I was feeling quite emotional about being there… Nothing prepared me for actually being there and being able to hug him and bring him greetings from everyone in his support circle. He looked tired and drawn, partly as a result of the ten-hour trip to the Palais de Justice the previous day. He told me that in the past three years he has lost about 15 kilos which, as he pointed out with a smile, is a lot for a man of relatively small stature.
I was immensely impressed by Hassan’s resilience and courage in the face of this almost indescribable cruelty and injustice. He maintains a sense of dignity and humour, and expressed no anger or bitterness.
Tuesday November 14, 2017:
We greeted each other with a warm hug. Hassan mentioned that not only is this the third anniversary of his incarceration, but it is also his daughter Jena’s birthday this week. Obviously, he is missing these important personal milestones and more importantly, the direct personal attachments to people he loves.
Solitary confinement has been hard on Hassan. He is only allowed to leave his cell for four hours a day. He has lost a lot of weight since I saw him last year.
He said he was so exhausted from the travel to and from the Palais de Justice on Friday (November 10). They got him up at 6:00 am and he was shuttled through a series of cells and vehicles along the way, with nothing to distract him from the barrenness of this process.
At the Appeal Court hearing which I was able to attend, Hassan had said: “I want to repeat that I am innocent. I was on strict bail conditions for six years in Canada and I did not run away. Innocent people do not run away, and I won’t be running away here. I promise to stay.” His sincerity and moral strength were so clear in these brief words.
Join us for a screening of the “Rubber Stamped” documentary at the Mirror Mountain Film Festival in Ottawa. The screening will take place on Friday December 1, 7:30 pm, at the Arts Court Theatre, 2 Daly Avenue, Ottawa. – Map
The documentary shows the impact of Hassan’s ordeal on his family. Hassan’s supporters and his Canadian lawyer, Donald Bayne, talk about the miscarriage of justice and the risk of wrongful conviction.
The documentary is directed by Amar Wala and shot and edited by Andrea Conte. It will be shown as part of the Local Heroes collection of short films.
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