Outrageous, Baseless Decision by the Court of Assize

Watch interviews with William Bourdon (Hassan’s French lawyer) and Don Bayne (Hassan’s Canadian lawyer) on CBC Power and Politics:

(Interviews start at 27 minutes, 11 seconds)

William Bourdon, Hassan’s French lawyer, said his task of defending Hassan was an “impossible mission”. The court deliberately ignored and dismissed all “extremely convincing” evidence of Hassan’s innocence — that he was in Beirut at the time of the attack, that he did not belong to PFLP, and that he had very strong alibi. The presumption of innocence has been replaced by the presumption of guilt. After 43 years, the court is clinging on to Hassan Diab because of the pressure of the civil parties and the judges’ fear to be accused of laxity in finding those responsible for the 1980 attack.

Don Bayne, Hassan’s Canadian lawyer, called it a “political trial” and a “political conviction”, and remarked that “the victims deserve a trial; what they don’t deserve is a scapegoat or a miscarriage of justice.” Mr. Bayne also noted that Hassan was not convicted based on evidence. The type of material that was put forward by the prosecution (opinion of lay people, of journalists, of so-called intelligence people) is not evidence; it is opinion. This would never be allowed in a Canadian courtroom.

Moreover, the court that convicted Hassan was not a court of record. There is no transcript, no audio, and no video. So, there is no accurate record of exactly what happened inside that court. In Canada, courts are of record. What we have here is a wrongful conviction of a man in absentia from a court that was not a court of record.

The two French investigative judges (Jean-Marc Herbaut and Richard Foltzer), who spent three years investigating this case and know it inside out, went to the court and urged the court not to convict, saying there is no valid basis for a conviction, that they’ve checked every aspect of this case and Hassan is innocent. Despite this, there is a wrongful conviction.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Justice Minister David Lametti must protect Hassan and say No to any request for Hassan’s extradition.

Prime Minister Trudeau must honour his words from June 18, 2018, when a few months after Hassan’s release and return to Canada he said that “what happened to Hassan Diab never should have happened” and promised to “make sure that this never happens again.”

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