Hassan Diab Still in Legal Limbo as He Approaches His Fourth Year in a French Prison

Dr. Hassan Diab, the Canadian citizen and sociology professor who was unjustly extradited to France in November 2014, approaches his fourth year of imprisonment in France, despite his innocence.

In July 2017, the French investigative judge closed his investigations into the case after finding that there is “consistent evidence” that Dr. Diab was not in France at the time of the 1980 bombing near a Paris Synagogue. However, prosecutors have yet to respond despite the normal practice of defence and prosecution responding within 30-days of the closing of the investigation. Hassan’s lawyers responded within 30 days, urging Hassan’s release.

Hassan’s French lawyer, William Bourdon, noted that “though there is no legal sanction to the non-observance of the delays that apply once the investigations are finished, we are obviously very disappointed that the prosecutor does not comply with them in this case where Hassan Diab has consistently proclaimed his innocence and consistent evidence of his innocence was collected during the investigations. Hassan remains in prison in France where he has now spent almost three years despite repetitive release orders constantly overturned by the Court of Appeal.”

Hassan’s Canadian lawyer, Donald Bayne, remarked, “This is yet another manifestation of the mounting injustices that have plagued this case and victimized Dr. Diab – who is this century’s Dreyfus – for the past 8 years. Surely the great Republic of France will put an end to injustice, will listen to the investigating judge who has stated that there is consistent and corroborated evidence of Dr. Diab’s innocence.”

On September 21, MP Don Davies presented a Parliamentary petition signed by thousands of Canadians urging the Canadian government to bring Hassan home.

In addition, an Open Letter signed by hundreds of Hassan’s supporters was sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould urging them to put an end to Dr. Diab’s Kafkaesque situation.

Alex Neve, the Secretary General of Amnesty International, stated that “this further delay, attributable to the French prosecutor, is one more unconscionable injustice. At a minimum Mr. Diab must be released on bail while the case proceeds, and the Canadian government must – at senior levels – insist that it happens without any further delay.”

Dr. Diab has strongly condemned the crime, and steadfastly maintained his innocence. He has a lifelong record of opposition to all forms of bigotry, anti-Semitism, and violence, as attested by longtime friends, colleagues, and everyone who knows him. Dr. Diab’s fingerprints, palm prints, physical description, and handwriting do not match those of the suspect. Since his ordeal began in 2008, Dr. Diab has been imprisoned or under very strict bail conditions for almost nine years.