By Rania Tfaily
This is to inform you that Hassan Diab’s evidentiary hearing will continue on Thursday, December 10th, at 10 AM at the Superior Court (161 Elgin Street in Ottawa), and possibly on Friday, December 11th. The Assistant Crown Attorney, Claude LeFrancois, will continue his arguments, and Hassan's lawyer will make a final rebuttal. I sincerely hope you can attend court.
Some points I’d like you to be aware of:
1. The Crown is taking the position that unsourced secret intelligence (with unknown reliability) can be used as evidence in extradition hearings. He is arguing that, since the intelligence was submitted by France (a country with which Canada has an extradition treaty), the intelligence must be presumed reliable. The Crown (representing the Attorney General of Canada) will be relying on intelligence in the extradition hearing because he believes 'not all intelligence is bad' and ‘sometimes intelligence gets it right’. This is the first known instance in which untestable and unsourced secret intelligence is being used in a Canadian court for extradition purposes. Such intelligence would be unacceptable as courtroom evidence in a Canadian criminal trial. Allowing intelligence to be used as evidence in extradition is a chilling prospect. It means that any foreign state with which Canada has an extradition treaty would be able to request the extradition of a Canadian citizen based on secret intelligence that the accused does not know the sources of and which cannot be challenged.
2. Using France’s own materials, Hassan's lawyer intends to demonstrate that the intelligence against Hassan is unreliable. In fact, the French investigators have contradicted their own intelligence claims in court submissions between June and December of 2008. The Crown is opposing the defense's move, and is arguing that any such contradictions can be dealt with at trial in France. It is important to note that the French investigators themselves admit that they do not know the sources of the intelligence against Hassan, and they do not know whether or not it is reliable.
3. The Crown is arguing that the role of the Canadian court is to expedite extradition to the requesting state, and that the accused should not be allowed to challenge the reliability of the case against him/her as it will prolong the process. The Crown argues that evidence about the lack of procedural fairness in the French legal system is beyond the scope of an extradition hearing, since it is ‘presumed that the accused will receive a fair trial’. He also argues that it is up to the Minister of Justice – not the Canadian court – to determine whether or not it is fair to extradite.
I sincerely hope you can attend the hearing and spread the news about the implications of the Crown's position.
This message is also a call-out for financial support. We have received some financial assistance from friends, but we are still well short of the amount required to continue our legal battle, especially since nine top experts are involved in this case in order to refute the French allegations regarding the handwriting and intelligence. We are at a very critical phase, and your financial help would make an enormous difference in the outcome.
We must win in Canada. Hassan has no chance in France, where the courts accept secret intelligence as evidence and severely restrict the defense's ability to call witnesses. We hope we can count on your support. Hassan’s case will have important consequences in Canada as well as in France because it will expose the unfairness and injustice of this case. For more information regarding how to donate, please see http://www.justiceforhassandiab.org/donate.
On Behalf of the Hassan Diab Support Committee