Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Conclusion in Search of Facts

By Rachel Anjorin

This essay details numerous instances in which French investigators have spared no effort to pin the 1980 Rue Copernic attack on Dr. Hassan Diab, no matter how much evidence they find showing he is an innocent man. Rather than let the facts of the case lead them to a logical conclusion, French investigators have cherry picked information, ignored a wealth of evidence that points away from Hassan as a suspect, and even changed their theory of the crime to fit a preconceived conclusion.

Modifying the Suspect's Profile. The French investigation regarding the 1980 Rue Copernic attack was leaked to the media in October 2007. A French journalist approached Dr. Diab to inform him about the pending allegations against him. The journalist inquired repeatedly whether Hassan is a Palestinian. When Hassan, who is a Lebanese, insisted he is not, the reporter expressed surprise as the investigation files, to which the reporter had been given access, have identified Hassan as a Palestinian.

The fact that Hassan is not Palestinian should have alerted French investigators to the fact that he's not the man they think he is. Instead, French investigators chose to modify the suspect's profile to match their target. The misidentification of Hassan as Palestinian was so deep-seated that it continued to be widely reported in the media for more than two years after Hassan’s encounter with the French journalist. In the official case against Hassan, the French investigators changed their description of the Rue Copernic hit team so that it reads that a group of five Palestinians had participated in the attack and that one of these men was a Lebanese.

Mix-and-match Suspect Features. Descriptions of the Rue Copernic suspect vary tremendously regarding every feature, from age (20 to 45 years), build (very thin to rather stocky), ethnicity (European to Arab), hair length (long, medium, short) and hair color (blond, brown, black) to the presence or absence of facial hair, glasses, and so on. The wide variation in the descriptions of the suspect should be enough to discredit them, since any subset of these characteristics can be matched to a large portion of the general population. Apparently, French investigators are at liberty to mix and match features from these varied descriptions to fit their preferred suspect.

Scribbling Scandalously Mishandled. France has as evidence five block letter style words printed on a hotel registration card in Paris purportedly by the bomber himself. Investigators compared those words to samples of Hassan’s handwriting while a student at Syracuse University. Two French handwriting analysts claimed a match between the samples and the hotel registration card. Unbeknownst to French investigators, Hassan's ex-wife had done much of the writing on the samples. Remarkably, only one of the French analysts noticed the two writing styles, which look very different. In a breathtaking departure from reason, the analyst concluded that Hassan is masterfully skilled at changing his writing style. Both French handwriting analysts found a match where it was impossible to find one, thereby entirely undermining their own credibility. Once the defense pointed out these appalling flaws in the French handwriting reports, French investigators reacted by delaying court proceedings for more than five months, further prolonging Hassan’s state of house arrest. Eventually, the two handwriting reports were withdrawn in their entirety and a “fresh” handwriting report was submitted. This “new” report is expected to fare no better than the first two. (Attend court in December 2010, to learn more about this.)

Militant Mannequin. French investigators assert that Hassan bears a “strong resemblance” to sketches of the suspected bomber. The three sketches, built up from widely varying descriptions of the suspect, are generic, “modal” images of the same face made up in three different “costumes” (hair, moustache, etc.). The images are so unremarkable and common that they look like a mannequin dressed up in a variety of wigs. This is what happens when a large variety of perceptions (as in the witness descriptions) are blended. You end up with a muddy composite. The mere assertion that the sketches bear a resemblance to Hassan appears to be powerful “evidence” for French investigators, despite the fact that the sketches do not even correspond to the varied descriptions of the suspect.

Playing Games with Names. According to French investigators, the suspects in the Copernic bombing were named. This claim is based on Israeli intelligence and information from French journalists working in Beirut during the Civil War. Neither source lists Hassan as a suspect. Apparently, French investigators are free to substitute at will, inserting Hassan wherever they want to put him, and dropping other names from the list of suspects.

Ten More Reasons Why the Case is Wrong. In addition to 24/7 GPS monitoring (which must be paid for by Hassan), curfews, and other strict bail conditions, Hassan must appear in person at the RCMP office on a weekly basis. On one of these occasions (November 2009), Hassan was detained temporarily to have his fingertip prints taken to be compared with fingertip prints found on the document signed by the suspect. A year has passed without the court being notified regarding the results. The Crown Attorneys have recently acknowledged that Hassan’s fingertip prints do not match those on the document signed by the suspect. However, they argued that the French investigators are under no obligation to disclose this exculpatory evidence. This evidence was again simply abandoned because it indicated once again that Hassan is not the guy they really want. There are likely many more examples of exonerating evidence that Hassan will never hear about, much less use in his own defense, because according to the Crown Attorneys Canada’s Extradition Law allows the requesting state to bury evidence that doesn't work out for them.

French investigators have started with a conclusion. Rather than let the facts carry them to a logical conclusion, French investigators have gone off in search of “facts” to support their conclusion. Along the way, they have ignored and omitted a great deal of inconvenient information. The French case looks very much like a conclusion in search of facts rather than the other way around. “Evidence” has been invented, derived, and backfilled when supporting facts failed to surface. It must be quite a challenge for French investigators to hold at bay the tide of evidence running counter to their preconceived conclusion. Perhaps by now they have even come to realize (subconsciously, perhaps) that they are after the wrong man.

Sadly and unfairly, the Canadian extradition process is not designed to take into account the mountain of exonerating evidence. The legal process is driven by whatever information the French investigators choose to keep within the four corners of a document known as the Record of Case. The French investigators and the Canadian Crown Attorneys representing them remain single-mindedly focused on the task of getting Hassan to France, no matter how clear it is that they are barking up the wrong tree. If French investigators had applied a fraction of the same zeal to an objective investigation, they might have apprehended the real bomber by now. This would also respect the memory of the Rue Copernic victims.

As unfair as the Canadian extradition process is for Hassan, it pales in comparison to what he will face if extradited to France. French anti-terrorism courts have a documented track record of accepting secret intelligence as evidence, even when it is known to be the product of torture. In addition, it is most unlikely that Hassan will be granted permission by the court in France to bring his own experts to challenge the “evidence” against him or wage any meaningful defence. The privileged position the magistrate occupies within the French legal system means that once he closes the dossier and hands it to the prosecutor there are virtually no further opportunities to introduce new evidence or engage in adversarial challenge.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

CAIR-CAN Issues Action Alert About Unfair Extradition Proceedings

The Council on American-Islamic Relations Canada (CAIR-CAN) issued an action alert today urging all Canadians to contact the Minister of Justice, Mr. Robert Nicholson, and demand that he stop the use of unsourced intelligence in Dr. Diab's case.

“French authorities, by their own admission, are relying upon the use of unsourced “secret” intelligence to back-up their extradition request. Unsourced intelligence refers to information, the origin of which is unverified. The reliability and veracity of unsourced intelligence is virtually untestable. There is the added concern that unsourced intelligence may be intelligence derived from torture...

Canada should neither be accepting unsourced intelligence in its courts, nor should it be permitting the Department of Justice to submit unsourced intelligence to our courts...

CAIR-CAN is urging constituents and supporters to speak out against the unjust extradition proceedings against Dr. Diab.”

Friday, November 5, 2010

CAUT Opposes Secret Intelligence from Unidentified Sources in Extradition Case of Hassan Diab

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) issued a statement today opposing the use of secret “intelligence” from unidentified sources in Hassan's case.

"The Canadian Association of University Teachers opposes the use of secret “intelligence” information from unidentified sources – especially information that may be derived from torture – in the Canadian courts, as is happening in the extradition case of Canadian citizen and university professor Dr. Hassan Diab...

Dr. Diab has no criminal record. He has taught at both the University of Ottawa and Carleton University. CAUT has closely monitored Dr. Diab’s case since his unjust termination by Carleton University soon after the allegations became public. We’ve since been gravely concerned by the nature of the information being presented on behalf of France to try to justify its request...

CAUT calls on the Canadian government and the courts to stop the use of unsourced information in Dr. Diab’s case and others like his. To do otherwise could have far-reaching implications, undermining the test for extradition and resulting in unfair process and injustices for others suspected of crimes by foreign states." Ottawa Professor Fights Extradition for 1980 Bomb Attack in France

Read the article by Matthew Behrens published on today.

"The Ontario Superior Court judge presiding over the extradition on Nov. 8 will hear about a litany of problems, including the fact that Diab's finger and palm prints do not match those offered by the French...

In addition, key pieces of evidence appear to have been tampered with, possibly amounting to fraud, and information that would exonerate Diab has been buried in the record, with lawyers representing the Canadian government having argued the French are under no obligation to present information in their hands that would cast a positive light on Dr. Diab...

With his life in limbo, Diab will enter the Ottawa Courthouse Nov. 8 hoping the rule of law prevails, and that, even with the low extradition standards, the sheer weight of the facts will tilt the case in his favour. But he and supporters are not resting easy. They are asking that individuals and groups across Canada add their name to a statement calling for his extradition to be stopped and for the process to be brought in line with Canada's human rights obligations. That statement, and further background can be found here."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Please Take a Stand on Hassan Diab's Case

Dear all,

We urge you to take a firm public stand against abusive extradition cases by (1) signing the statement below, and (2) (if you live in Ottawa) attending Dr. Hassan Diab's extradition hearing, which is scheduled to commence on November 8, 2010 (details below).

On October 15, 2010, Dr. Diab’s lawyer filed important documents with the Court showing how French investigators have manipulated unsourced secret intelligence and other materials to falsely implicate Dr. Diab. The documents also demonstrate how evidence exonerating Dr. Diab has been hidden from the Court. These abusive actions by French investigators constitute an attack on principles of fundamental justice and demonstrate how Canada’s extradition law has so far failed to prevent foreign governments from exercising persecution by proxy and failed to honor Canada's international human rights obligations.

We believe this is a matter of importance to all of us and we hope that you will help uphold principles of fundamental justice by signing the statement below and attending the hearing. Please share this message with your friends and colleagues.

Sign Statement

Please consider endorsing the statement below. To endorse, simply email us at and let us know that you endorse the statement.

Court Watch

Dr. Diab's extradition hearing will commence on Monday, November 8, 2010, and is scheduled to continue until December 3. The hearing will take place at the Ontario Superior Court, 161 Elgin Street, Ottawa.

We invite you to come to the hearing and show your support. Court begins at 10:00 am and ends at 5:00 pm daily with a break for lunch. Attendees can freely (but quietly) enter and leave court whenever they wish.

Please email us at and let us know which days/times you plan to attend. We will then be able to notify you if the schedule changes unexpectedly.

Stop Hassan Diab’s Forced Removal from Canada

Hassan Diab is a much loved and respected sociology professor who is wrongly accused by French authorities of involvement in an attack near a Paris synagogue in 1980. Hassan Diab condemns that attack and is strongly opposed to ethnically and religiously motivated discrimination and violence.

Hassan Diab is fighting his forced removal from Canada (via “extradition”) to face fabricated charges based on secret intelligence, the sources of which are admittedly unknown even to French authorities. There is serious concern that this intelligence may be the product of torture. Dr. Diab’s case represents the first time that a foreign government has sought the extradition of a Canadian citizen based on secret intelligence that cannot be challenged in a court of law.

The contemporary climate of ethnic, racial, and religious profiling means that Dr. Diab, like many other Muslim and Middle-Eastern Canadians, is becoming yet one more victim in the global “War on Terror”.

Since November 2008, Dr. Diab has suffered through over four and a half months of detention, followed by the loss of his university employment and humiliating and oppressive bail conditions that include an exorbitantly expensive GPS monitoring device.

Canada’s extradition law has long been criticized for failing to honor Canada’s international human rights obligations and to prevent foreign governments from exercising persecution by proxy.

The “evidence” presented by France in an effort to tear Dr. Diab from his friends and family is based on an alarming pattern of serious contradictions, prejudicial opinions, significant misrepresentations and omissions, and withholding or burying of exonerating evidence. Key pieces of evidence appear to have been tampered with, to the point of fraud. To cite but a small handful of many examples:
  • Evidence proving Dr. Diab’s innocence has either been buried or perversely transformed into incriminating conclusions.

  • French investigators hid from the court in Canada the fact that Dr. Diab’s finger and palm prints do not match those of the alleged suspect.

  • Handwriting analysis described by the Canadian Crown prosecutor as akin to a “smoking gun” was withdrawn after internationally renowned experts pronounced it to be biased and of “appalling” reliability. It was replaced by a ‘new’ handwriting analysis which these same experts found to be at least as appalling and biased as the previously withdrawn one.

  • French investigators have refused to correct any misrepresentations, contradictions, and inaccuracies in their case despite having had ample time to do so.

  • Government of Canada attorneys have argued that French investigators are under NO obligation to present information in their possession that would cast a positive light on Dr. Diab.
It shocks our conscience to see deprivation of liberty based on such scurrilous accusations. We are horrified that the standards of Canada’s Extradition Act are so low that this pretence of a case against Dr. Diab has been allowed to drag on for so long.

Given that such an unjust process has been made to appear "acceptable" - in part because of Dr. Diab's ethnic and religious background - we, the undersigned, are compelled to speak up and publicly call for an end to this clear affront to liberty.

We are opposed to the unjust and oppressive extradition proceedings against Dr. Diab.

We thus call upon the Canadian Minister of Justice to:
  1. Exercise the power he has, under extradition law, to immediately halt extradition proceedings against Dr. Diab; and to act on his legal obligation to refuse to make unjust and oppressive extradition orders;

  2. Protect individuals in Canada from unjust and abusive extradition practices; stop the use of secret intelligence of unknown, untestable reliability in extradition hearings; and refuse extraditions to requesting states that use secret, unsourced intelligence or intelligence that may have been derived from torture as trial evidence;

  3. Reform extradition law to take into account Canada’s human rights obligations, including the presumption of innocence, the right to a fair trial, the right to disclosure of evidence, and all other due process rights.

To sign the statement, inquire about other ways to support Dr. Diab, or obtain more information about the legal factum detailing the manipulation of intelligence and twisting of evidence, please send an email to

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Letter to The Globe and Mail

The following letter was written to Globe and Mail columnist Lysiane Gagnon in response to an inaccurate and misleading article published on October 10, 2010. To date, neither Ms. Gagnon nor editors for the Globe and Mail have responded.

Ms. Gagnon,

Your column in The Globe and Mail, titled "Still waiting, 30 years on" (October 10, 2010), demonstrates a troubling lack of knowledge about crucial factors at work in the extradition case of Dr. Hassan Diab.

To begin with, you note the extradition hearing has experienced “a number of delays” and attribute these, in part, to “disagreement over handwriting evidence submitted by the French investigators”. In fact, the fiasco surrounding France's handwriting evidence has been the single biggest factor accounting for the protracted nature of extradition proceedings against Dr. Diab.

In December 2009, the defence submitted reports from four of the world’s foremost handwriting experts showing the manifest unreliability of France’s handwriting evidence. France waited more than five months—from December 2009 to May 2010—to submit a new expert opinion that seeks to amend the shoddy work of their previous analysts. This new submission was so poorly timed that the court was forced to push back the extradition hearing date by another five months—from June to November 2010. Thus, the lethargic response of French investigators to defence evidence has caused a delay of nearly one year.

This episode reveals that France would have been quite content to achieve extradition based on entirely flawed evidence—evidence that Crown prosecutors have likened to a “smoking gun”. Instead, French authorities were forced to withdraw their shoddy evidence and regroup. Not only is this kind of information crucial to a clear understanding of why efforts to extradite Dr. Diab have met with delays, but it also raises real doubts about the merits of France’s case. By describing this affair as a mere “disagreement” between the prosecution and defence, you provide cover for French investigators and prevent Globe and Mail readers from questioning your assertion that “Mr. Diab should be extradited as soon as possible.”

But without a doubt, the weakest part of your article is your declaration that, “There’s no reason for Canada to show special leniency – there’s no risk of him being mistreated or submitted to an unfair trial, since France’s legal system offers all the guarantees of a democratic country.” Nowhere do you mention the most controversial aspect of Dr. Diab’s case: French reliance upon secret, unsourced intelligence as key evidence to support the extradition request. Acknowledging this fact would certainly complicate claims about the fairness of the French legal system, since secret and unsourced intelligence is inherently unreliable as courtroom evidence.

Two recent reports by Human Rights Watch criticize France’s use of intelligence as evidence and document instances in which evidence derived from torture has been used by the French counterterrorism judiciary to prosecute terrorism suspects (“Preempting Justice: Counterterrorism Laws and Procedures in France”, July 2008; “No Questions Asked: Intelligence Cooperation with Countries that Torture”, June 2010).

Several civil liberties organizations, including the national Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, and the Civil Liberties Association of the National Capital Region, have voiced grave concerns about the prospect that France’s “key evidence” is secret intelligence that may be the product of torture.

Your article concludes by saying that “It’s a matter of justice for the victims of the attack on rue Copernic that there be at least an honest attempt to identify the perpetrators of this murderous anti-Semitic act.” Yes, but prosecution founded on unsourced secret intelligence and shoddy handwriting analysis is a very far cry from an “honest attempt” to get at the truth.

Frankly, you do your readers a great disservice by omitting these important facts from your article.


Donald J. Pratt
Hassan Diab Support Committee

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Keep Evidence Derived From Torture Out of Canadian Courts

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) recently issued a press release about Hassan's case.
"The only effective way to police those in authority from engaging in [torture] or seeking to benefit from it is to prohibit use of evidence derived from it. Absent assurances from France that they have and will respect this rule, Canada should not proceed with an extradition hearing at all."

Also, Mr. Eric Holmes, the President of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, wrote a letter to the Canadian Minister of Justice regarding Hassan's case.
"Canada cannot rely on evidence derived from torture under any circumstances. We urge you to stop the use of unsourced intelligence in Mr. Diab’s case, and in all other cases like his. The prohibition against torture requires that all incentive to commit torture be eliminated. Keeping torture evidence out of Canadian courts is crucial in upholding our commitment to this universal standard."

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Justice Misplaced is Still Justice Delayed

Closure to the Copernic Tragedy Cannot Come at the Expense of an Innocent Man

In an opinion piece that appeared in The Jerusalem Post on October 1, 2010, Shimon Samuels of the Simon Wiesenthal Center remembers the tragedy of the 1980 Copernic attack and situates it within the wider context of anti-Semitism.

Mr. Samuels notes that efforts to extradite the suspect "have been met with delays". He goes on to assert that, "Closure can only come by Canada's extradition of Hassan Diab to face a French tribunal."

The extradition case of Dr. Hassan Diab has received scant press coverage outside of Canada, so readers may not be aware of developments in the nearly two years since Dr. Diab’s arrest. Mr. Samuels refers to "delays" but offers no explanation for why they have occurred. This may leave readers with the false impression that Canada's extradition process is somehow at fault, or perhaps that the defence has sought to drag out the legal process.

Nowhere is it suggested that the reliance of French investigators on secret, unsourced intelligence—inherently unreliable as courtroom evidence—may have significantly impeded the judicial process. Nor does the writer inform readers about the fiasco surrounding France's handwriting evidence, which the defence has shown to be so flawed that French authorities were compelled to withdraw it.

France waited more than five months—from December 2009 to May 2010—to submit a new expert report that supposedly amends the embarrassingly shoddy work of their previous analysts. This new submission was so poorly timed that the court was forced to push back the extradition hearing date by another five months—from June to November 2010. Thus, the slow response of French investigators to defence evidence has caused a delay of nearly one year.

Not only are these facts crucial to a clear understanding of why efforts to extradite Dr. Diab “have been met with delays”, but they also raise significant doubts about the merits of France’s case.

Mr. Samuels’ also unwittingly highlights how French theories about the case change like a chameleon each time reality does not fit the “facts”. In particular, Mr. Samuels repeats the erroneous “fact” that Hassan is Palestinian. French authorities discarded their carefully nurtured theory that the bomber was Palestinian once they learned that Hassan is not Palestinian, and news reports ceased to refer to Hassan as Palestinian from late 2008 onwards. Yet Mr. Samuels continues to rely on this long-discredited piece of information. This is a particularly noteworthy error, since it goes straight to the heart of France’s case, which is about establishing identity.

Justice delayed is indeed justice denied. But so is handing an innocent man over to foreign authorities merely on their say-so. Extradition is not a rubber-stamp process. According to the extradition treaty, France’s evidence must meet the prima facie standard of admissibility for prosecution in a Canadian court. By failing to provide evidence worthy of the name, the French authorities have committed themselves to an extradition process that respects neither the memory of the Rue Copernic victims nor the fundamental principles of justice that are supposed to protect citizens from potentially grave miscarriages of justice.

Closure cannot be truly achieved by prosecuting an innocent man.

Hassan Diab Support Committee

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

L’Association Canadienne des Libertés Civiles Suit la Procédure d’Extradition du Hassan

"L’ACLC s’inquiète que les procedures contre le Dr. Diab s’appuient sur des «preuves manifestement non fiables», ce qui met en cause les droits à la vie, la liberté et la sécurité accordés au Dr. Diab par la section 7 de la Charte...

"L’ACLC s’inquiète que l’extradition dans cette affaire puisse nuire au test d’extradition, ce qui aboutirait à un processus inéquitable et des injustices envers les personnes soupçonnées de crimes par des états étrangers."

Canadian Civil Liberties Association Monitoring the Extradition Proceedings of Hassan

"The CCLA is concerned that the case against Dr. Diab may consist of ‘manifestly unreliably evidence’ such that Dr. Diab’s section 7 Charter rights to life, liberty and security of the person are at stake...

"CCLA is concerned that the extradition in this case will undermine the test for extradition and lead to unfair process and injustices for people suspected of crimes by foreign states."

Monday, August 30, 2010

Misidentification and Wrongful Conviction

Read an interview with Innocence Project co-founder Peter Neufeld on misidentification and wrongful conviction:

“The primary cause [of wrongful convictions] is mistaken identification… The second most common cause is the misuse of forensic science other than DNA.”

Friday, August 27, 2010

August 30, 2010: Court Date for Abuse of Process Application

We urge you to come to the Ontario Superior Court, located at 161 Elgin Street in Ottawa, on Monday August 30 at 10:00 AM, to show your support for Hassan.

On August 30, Hassan’s lawyer will file an abuse of process application. The application will detail how the French investigators and the Crown Attorney have continued to rely on flawed handwriting “evidence”, even after learning that handwriting samples alleged to have been written by Dr. Diab were actually written by someone else.

The extradition law and the public’s confidence in the administration of justice rest on trust that the requesting state will only submit reliable evidence to Canadian courts. However, this has not happened in Dr. Diab’s case. The French investigators and the Crown attorney continued to rely on “evidence” that they knew is fatally flawed.

Please come to court to show your support for due process and fundamental principles of justice!

To find the courtroom number, simply check with the information desk staff or look up Hassan’s name on the sheet posted on each courtroom door.

Hassan Diab Support Committee

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Human Rights Watch Condemns France’s Use of Intelligence as Evidence

By Don Pratt

On March 11, 2010, Human Rights Watch submitted a report titled “Concerns and Recommendations on France” to the UN Committee Against Torture. The section of the report condemning France’s use of intelligence as evidence is worth quoting at length.
Human Rights Watch is concerned that French criminal procedures in terrorism cases lack sufficient safeguards to ensure that evidence obtained under torture or prohibited ill-treatment is not used at any stage of proceedings in France.

Intelligence material, including information coming from third countries with poor records on torture, is often at the heart of terrorism investigations. Our research indicates that there is insufficient judicial verification of intelligence material in terrorism investigations. In practice, security services provide prosecutors and specialized investigating judges with information they have obtained through intelligence-gathering methodologies, including cooperation with third countries with poor records on torture. Investigating judges may then order any number of investigative steps, including arrests, on the basis of this intelligence, without exercising any control over the legitimacy of the methods used to obtain the information.

As the Committee made clear in P.E. v. France, states have a positive obligation "to ascertain whether or not statements constituting part of the evidence of a procedure for which it is competent have been made as a result of torture." The absence of any mechanism or requirement on the part of investigative judges to verify whether the information was obtained under any form of ill-treatment is a breach of that obligation, because the information constitutes evidence for the purposes of a judicial investigation.

The Human Rights Watch report goes on to cite a recent case in which French authorities arrested and convicted two individuals based on information obtained from another man while he was detained by the Département du Renseignement et de la Sécurité (DRS), Algeria’s infamous secret service agency, which is well-known for torture and other abusive treatment.
The 2005 arrests of individuals allegedly plotting terrorist attacks in Paris are illustrative. These arrests appear to have been based largely on statements allegedly made by a man named M'hamed Benyamina while in custody of the Algerian secret service, the Department for Information and Security (Département du Renseignement et de la Sécurité, DRS). Benyamina, an Algerian residing legally in France, was arrested at an airport in Algeria in September 2005 as he was preparing to return to France. Benyamina told Amnesty International that Algerian officers told him French authorities had requested his arrest. Benyamina was held in illegal, arbitrary DRS custody for at least five months. Benyamina said he did not want to talk about treatment in DRS detention as long as he remains in Algeria for fear of reprisals.

There is evidence, based on dozens of cases of torture and ill-treatment collected by Amnesty International between 2002 and 2006, to suggest that the DRS routinely arrests and holds terrorism suspects in incommunicado detention, with no access to a lawyer, where they are at particular risk of torture and ill-treatment. Two men, Emmanuel Nieto and Stéphane Hadoux, were arrested in France in October 2005 on the basis of statements made by Benyamina during his detention, which he later retracted. Nieto and Hadoux were convicted of criminal association in relation to a terrorist undertaking in October 2008.

The Human Rights Watch report also cites a shocking case in which a French investigating magistrate (juge d’instruction) conspired with the Syrian Military Intelligence (SMI) to extract a false confession from an Algerian man. The SMI is the same intelligence service that tortured Canadian national Maher Arar.
… Said Arif, an Algerian national, [was] detained in Damascus, Syria in 2003. A French investigating judge provided Syrian authorities with a list of questions to ask Arif, accompanied by "answers" in parentheses, and traveled to Damascus to observe the interrogation. Arif credibly alleged he was tortured throughout the year he spent in Syrian custody and disavowed everything he is alleged to have said during that period. All pieces of evidence emanating directly from his detention in Syria were eventually excluded from his trial. Arif was nonetheless convicted of criminal association in relation to a terrorist undertaking in June 2006.

At trial, French lawyers for Mr. Arif declared that self-incriminating statements were obtained through torture while in Syrian custody and characterized the charges against their client as “part of an elaborate fiction constructed by the government to target men because of their religious and political beliefs”. An attorney for another client accused with Arif went so far as to accuse French intelligence services of planting evidence to achieve a politically motivated conviction.

The Human Rights Watch report continues:
The courts appear to have allowed as evidence in some cases statements allegedly made under torture by third persons. Part of the evidence against Arif and his co-defendants, for example, came from a Jordanian man known as Abu Attiya, who was interrogated while in Jordanian custody using questions submitted by a French investigating judge.

Abu Attiya told Human Rights Watch of mistreatment he had suffered during the four years he spent in the custody of the Jordanian General Intelligence Department (GID). (He was released in December 2007 without charge). The GID has a record of arbitrary arrest and abusive treatment of prisoners. Defense arguments to exclude Abu Attiya's testimony on the grounds that it was obtained through torture were unsuccessful.

We are concerned that there are insufficient safeguards in place to ensure that investigating judges do not rely on evidence obtained in third countries under torture or ill-treatment in their investigations or to ensure the exclusion of such material as evidence in criminal trials of terrorism suspects.

The government should amend the code of criminal procedure to state explicitly that evidence extracted under torture or ill-treatment, regardless of its provenance, is not admissible at any stage of legal proceedings and investigations; and to impose a statutory obligation on the competent judicial authority to assess whether intelligence material was obtained under torture or ill-treatment.

The Human Rights Watch report raises very important issues. However, the report’s narrow focus on torture and other forms of ill-treatment obscures a more basic fact: Information obtained by intelligence agencies—whether or not it comes from torture or ill-treatment—is of unknown provenance and is therefore unreliable. Intelligence is collected for fundamentally different purposes and under different rules than evidence. The secretive process by which intelligence is gathered is entirely at odds with the requirements of evidence, due process, the presumption of innocence, and proof of guilt.

Political science, international relations, and the daily headlines reinforce the impression that the work of intelligence agencies is driven primarily by the Machiavellian necessities of statecraft rather than by lofty principles of democracy, freedom, and les droits de l'homme. Spectacular intelligence failures like 9/11, Iraq WMDs, and the “extraordinary rendition” of innocents like Maher Arar to torture are only the most obvious examples of the frailties of “intelligence”.

Given the inherent unreliability and unfairness of material from undisclosed sources, it is hardly surprising that the Canadian Crown prosecutor has attempted (with success) to sanitize the English translation of the Record of the Case by replacing the word “intelligence” with “information”. At the end of the day, the bald, unsubstantiated, conclusory assertions at the heart of the case against Dr. Diab simply cannot be tested in court. The broader implications of using intelligence as “evidence” in a legal process are that it undermines the integrity of the courts, weakens democracy, and reduces freedom without increasing security.

Other relevant reports by Human Rights Watch:

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Part Two)

By Don Pratt

Part one of this essay used articles 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 and 8 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) to illustrate how the fundamental rights and freedoms of Dr. Hassan Diab have been undercut by the extradition process. The second and final part of this essay relies on articles 9, 10, 11(1), 12, 18, 19, 20(1) and 23(1) to further demonstrate the injustice of this situation.

Article 9. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
The arrest and detention of Dr. Hassan Diab with the intent to exile him via extradition has been conducted on very weak and arbitrary grounds. Attempting to extradite and prosecute someone on the basis of unsourced intelligence and manifestly unreliable handwriting evidence certainly qualifies as jurisprudentially “arbitrary”. Courts in the common law tradition (Canada, British, the United States, etc.) consider unsourced intelligence to be manifestly unreliable and therefore inadmissible as evidence.

Article 10. Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
An extradition hearing does not offer a level playing field for the defence. In Canada, Hassan will not receive a “fair and public hearing” because, as the Crown Attorney is fond of reminding the court, “an extradition is not a trial”. The requesting state enjoys the token evidentiary standard of presumptive reliability. France need only make out a prima facie case and can introduce “new evidence” at any time. Any “evidence” thus introduced is assumed to be true unless the defence can bring compelling and overwhelming evidence to the contrary. By contrast, evidence introduced by the defence must survive a rigorous double test. First, the defence must vigorously petition the court to allow its own evidence to be admitted. If this evidence is admitted, then it must withstand challenge from the Crown at the extradition hearing. Even if the defence manages to significantly undermine France’s case, the principle of comity (diplomat-speak for a “gentleman’s agreement” between nations) suggest that France may still get the benefit of the doubt. An inequality of arms that would be considered a gross violation of procedural justice in a criminal trial is permitted in extradition on the basis of “respecting Canada’s international obligations” and the belief that the defendant will receive a fair trail upon arrival in the requesting state.

This belief, however, is highly problematic in the case of France’s draconian counter-terrorism judiciary, which imposes significant restrictions on the rights of the accused. Attempts by the defence to challenge the dossier by calling evidence or cross-examining witnesses is risky and will be seen as an affront to the integrity of the judiciary itself.

The routine acceptance of unsourced intelligence as “evidence” by the French counter-terrorism judiciary further handicaps the defence. Secret evidence is inherently unfair because it contradicts the principle that a trial must be public in order to be fair. As the human rights organization JUSTICE has noted, “the use of secret intelligence violates the principle of a public hearing because secret evidence is not public. It is an affront to basic principles of fairness for the courts to determine issues of fact by reference to evidence not disclosed to a party”.

Article 11 (1). Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
The termination of Hassan’s teaching contract by Carleton University in the Summer of 2009 represents a serious violation of his right to the presumption of innocence. In the words of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), Carleton’s dismissal of Hassan “show[s] a blatant disregard of the principles of natural justice and due process [and] the legal right of an accused to the presumption of innocence”. The university’s actions were also condemned by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the Canadian Labor Congress, 30 members of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), and the National Post newspaper. To this day, Hassan is unable to find work.

Article 12. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
Dr. Diab’s privacy rights were stripped away through media leaks more than a year before his arrest. Those leaks were followed by bold and aggressive surveillance that lasted up until his arrest in November 2008. During that period, mysterious persons in cars with tinted windows followed him around town and attempted to break into his residence. Since his release on very strict bail conditions in April 2009, Hassan has been experiencing surveillance on a nonstop, round-the-clock basis via a GPS monitor, which he must wear at all times. On top of that, Hassan bears the burden of paying for this surveillance himself. Once you become the target of surveillance in the name of “national security”, you no longer have a private life.

Article 18. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
These two articles uphold the principle that everyone has the right to believe what they want and to express their beliefs and opinions to others.

The McCarthyesque atmosphere surrounding the “war on terrorism” inclines anyone who is accused of involvement in terrorism (regardless of guilt or innocence) to second-guess almost every thought and action. Even the most innocuous, apolitical activities, such as attending a movie or checking a book out of the library, may be scrutinized as possible “evidence” of involvement in nefarious activities. Given the heavy reliance of French magistrates on speculation and innuendo (examples of which abound in the Record of the Case) in lieu of evidence, the innocent person would be well-advised to emulate a monkish lifestyle.

Article 20. (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
Just as with freedom of thought, opinion, and expression, a person who faces terrorism charges must exercise a near-paranoid level of caution when considering with whom to associate. The guilt-by-association logic that authorities apply to terrorism cases makes this true even for the most trivial or fleeting forms of contact and involvement. French counterterrorism laws codify a particularly broad and vague guilt-by-association offence known as "criminal association in relation to a terrorist undertaking" (association de malfaiteurs en relation avec une entreprise terroriste) which forms the cornerstone of France’s “preventive approach” to terrorism and carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. This highly controversial statute has been criticized by Human Rights Watch and other rights organizations for sacrificing basic rights and as “wrong in principle and dangerous in practice.” The lack of legal certainty in the association de malfaiteurs offence leaves it open to arbitrary interpretation and application while absolving investigating and prosecuting authorities from any duty to link alleged participation with any actual execution of a terrorist offense or even a verifiable plan for the execution of such a plan.

Article 23. (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
As mentioned under Article 11 (“innocent until proven guilty”), Hassan’s ability to work has been severely undermined by Carleton University’s unfair decision to terminate his teaching position. Given the grave stigma associated with the charges he faces, Hassan will continue to have difficulty finding work. Even if he is ultimately cleared of all charges, the damage to his reputation will be permanent and will seriously compromise his life opportunities.

The extent to which the extradition process has diminished Dr. Diab’s fundamental rights and freedoms is well illustrated by the foregoing review of articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This analysis highlights the unfairness of extradition law as well as serious handicaps imposed on the defence at all stages of the legal process. This analysis also reveals the inter-connectedness of rights and freedoms. Violation of one right often produces a cascade of violations to other rights and freedoms.

Hassan’s case also shows how slapping the “terrorist” label on a person severely damages his reputation and livelihood. As Justice O’Connor noted in his report on the Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in Relation to Maher Arar, “labels have a way of sticking to individuals, reputations are easily damaged and when labels are inaccurate, serious unfairness to individuals can result.” Given the tendency for national security investigations to focus on members of the Arab and Muslim communities, the potential for infringement on the fundamental rights of innocent Canadians within these groups is higher. Those responsible for enforcing anti-terrorism laws must therefore be particularly sensitive to these human rights concerns. Otherwise, lives of innocent people will be ruined.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Part One)

By Don Pratt

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the United Nations in 1948. It represents the first global expression of rights to which all human beings are entitled, and embodies fundamental morals and values of human rights.

This two-part essay shows that many of Dr. Hassan Diab’s rights and freedoms have been trampled in the course of bringing the case against him. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides a convenient lens through which to view these injustices.

Skeptics may claim that a person accused of a serious crime should not enjoy the same rights as an “ordinary citizen”. These skeptics would do well to remember that the uniquely modern idea of an “ordinary citizen” rests on democratic principles that include the belief that all persons are endowed with “certain inalienable rights”. Mere accusation is not sufficient to “alienate” or annul these rights. Courts have repeatedly upheld the principle that even convicted persons retain many basic rights. The rights of suspects—who may never be found guilty—therefore ought to be all the more firmly upheld. If mere accusation were sufficient to abolish rights, then the justice process itself would be no small exercise in injustice. This would be especially relevant when the legal process becomes long and expensive due to missteps by the prosecution, and when charges are based on demonstrably flawed and manifestly unreliable “evidence”.

The foregoing accurately depicts Dr. Diab’s case. Hassan is entitled to the presumption of innocence. At this point, the legal process has already dragged on for 592 days and counting. The prosecution’s case is built on a foundation that is manifestly unreliable. The charges rely crucially on secret, unsourced intelligence which is inadmissible in a Canadian court. Take away the intelligence that cannot even be challenged or tested in court and the authorities are left with nothing but a few flimsy scraps of manifestly unreliable material, including handwriting analysis that is so profoundly flawed that the French have disavowed it. Sadly, none of this has prevented the severe curtailment of Hassan’s basic rights and freedoms.

Let’s now consider how the Universal Declaration of Human Rights illustrates the denial of Hassan’s rights.

Article 1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Dr. Diab’s rights have been compromised in at least two ways addressed by these two articles.

1. Language: Hassan’s right to legal proceedings conducted in a language he can comprehend (English) were violated at his first bail hearing, in which documents describing the charges against him were not translated. Because Hassan could not respond to charges that he could not understand, he lost the bail hearing and had to endure 139 days in detention. Eventually, the original bail decision was quashed on appeal and Hassan was granted bail after a new hearing. If Hassan’s language rights had been respected at the initial bail hearing, he would not have suffered this unnecessary and unjust deprivation of liberty.

2. National origin: Hassan’s national/ethnic origin has played some role in French and Canadian authorities treating him as presumptively suspicious, “profiling” him as a likely “terrorist”. This would be very unlikely to happen to someone named Bob McKenzie.

Article 3. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person
Detention exposed Hassan to a very hostile and dangerous prison environment for a prolonged period of time. Hassan is an inherently peaceful person more accustomed to the tranquility of academia than the Hobbesian world of prison, where he faced the constant threat of violence from other detainees. Even someone fortunate enough to avoid becoming a direct victim of such violence will likely develop a profound sense of insecurity when forced to live in a dangerous environment round the clock for months. The dehumanizing and potentially traumatic experience of detention under these conditions can have lasting negative psychological impacts.

Article 5. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
This article, which usually applies to situations of custody, states that persons should experience a basic level of decent treatment. This principle is particularly important in the context of pretrial detention, which precedes a determination of guilt or innocence.

According to an article published in the Ottawa Citizen in 2008, conditions at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre where Hassan was held for 139 days are “inhumane”. This fact is openly acknowledged by judges who have been known to award inmates credit of three-to-one for time served in pre-trial custody at the detention centre. More recently, two top-level administrators of the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre were replaced amid criticisms of how the facility is run.

Article 7. All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
Prior to his arrest, Hassan was not afforded “equal protection of the law”. Instead, he experienced frequent and sometimes blatantly intrusive surveillance by mysterious individuals (later revealed to be members of the RCMP). Hassan’s repeated calls to local police to request protection from this harassment were to no avail. Local law enforcement was unable (or unwilling) to protect Hassan from this harassment.

Article 8. Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
Hassan, an innocent man, may never obtain redress from harm and injustices he has suffered and continues to suffer. Since November 2007, he has endured the unimaginable ordeal of living under harassing surveillance, followed by arrest, detention under inhumane conditions, and now living under very strict bail conditions, which, it appears, will remain in place for the duration. He has been forced to put his life on hold while the seemingly interminable extradition process drags on. If the oft-postponed extradition hearing finally begins in November 2010, it will commence just eight days short of the two-year anniversary of Hassan’s arrest. In the meantime, Hassan has seen his life savings wiped out, his livelihood taken away, and his reputation permanently damaged. Even if Hassan ultimately prevails, he has virtually no prospect of compensation or even a simple, heartfelt apology from the authorities. The unchallengeable nature of secret “evidence” ensures that he will be unable to completely clear his name. The witch-hunt atmosphere surrounding terrorism charges makes it virtually impossible to ever completely rid oneself of the terrible stigma that the terrorist label carries. The authorities will take refuge in the excuse that they were “just doing their job”.

[End of Part One]

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Please come to court and support Prof. Hassan Diab

From: Rania Tfaily

Dear all,

I am writing to let you know that we will be in court - The Ottawa Court House, 161 Elgin Street - on Wednesday, June 16th at 10:00 am (and possibly Thursday, June 17th and Friday, June 18th) to ask the court for the removal of the condition of the electronic monitoring that was imposed on March 31, 2009, as part of Hassan’s bail.

This is important for us because the Crown attorney and France have twice unilaterally asked for lengthy adjournments of the extradition hearing. This led to the collapse of two pre-set court dates (January 2010 and June 2010). The delays that we have been subjected to also increased our legal bill substantially. In the meantime, Hassan lives under very, very strict conditions, and we have to finance the hefty cost of the electronic monitoring ($30,000 for the first year and $18,000 for every year thereafter).

In addition, France’s shoddy handwriting analysis and delays have led to an overly protracted legal process and repetition of evidentiary steps. Most recently, France’s handwriting evidence was entirely discredited by experts for the defense. In response, the French have disavowed their original reports and have filed a “new” handwriting report. Through this maneuvering, the Crown and the French have turned the process into a costly “war of attrition”.

I hope that you can come to the court this Wednesday. It would mean a lot for us to have supporters in the court. To know the courtroom number, simply check with the information desk staff or you can look up Hassan's name on the sheet posted on each courtroom door.

To donate to Hassan's legal defence fund, please visit:, or send a check directly to Hassan's legal defence at the following address:

Bayne Sellar Boxall
Attention: Diab Legal Defence Fund
Suite 500, 200 Elgin Street
Ottawa, Ontario K2P 1L5

Please make checks payable to: "Bayne Sellar Boxall"

Thank you,


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Letter from Dr. Randal Marlin to Mr. Rob Nicholson, the Canadian Minister of Justice

Check out the letter of support written by Dr. Randal Marlin, Academic Director of the Civil Liberties Association of the National Capital Region, to Mr. Rob Nicholson, the Canadian Minister of Justice.

Garlic, Onions, and Friendship

“Oh! I think I put in too much garlic; sorry about that.”
“WHAT?! There is NO such thing as ‘too much garlic’!”

So I learned from my dear friend, Hassan Diab. No longer do I need to apologize for enjoying extremely garlicy hummus, breads, salad dressings, food in general. YES!

My introduction to the delightful personality and gentle wisdom of Hassan came about by sheer circumstance; a mutual friend, who lives half-an-hour from Brandon, invited me to an evening BBQ and chatting around a big bonfire under the starlit skies of Manitoba’s prairies. I had no transportation and had to decline. My friend had another plan; he told me a friend of his was driving out from the city and he would set-up the ride. And that is how I met Hassan Diab and when our friendship began.

We are similar in our love of cooking and food. I am now onions and garlic when I cook, thanks to the introduction of wonderful Lebanese cuisine to my dietary mainstays. My refrigerator is never without tahini and garlic!

I cannot tell you what year I met Hassan; well, I could if I went back through calendars. Once we met it was as if old friends had reconnected. I have two budgies, affectionately known as “The Kids.” I talk to The Kids. Hassan? Hassan spoke to them and they came and responded in song. Me? I get squawks about the lack of treats. Hassan got conversation!

When Hassan was once applying for a job, he was required to obtain a Criminal Records Check. I was there, the record was clean. I witnessed the paperwork and signed "YES, I verify that Hassan Diab is a law abiding citizen and witness this Criminal Records Check." I value my integrity and had I ANY doubts in regards to Hassan's character or past actions, I would NEVER have put my name to a legal document. I had, and continue to have, no qualms or hesitation whatsoever certifying that Hassan Diab is free of criminal conduct. He is a peaceful, thoughtful man and it does not exist within his character to resort to violence for any reason or purpose.

I remember mentioning Hassan while talking to friends over coffee. They expressed a definitive confirmation of his positive effect on the student population of Brandon University’s Sociology Department. They missed him before he moved on, and they still fondly remember him and his joyful spirit.

I found strength and kind assistance from Hassan as I struggled through difficult times. I had an abusive childhood and suffer from Severe-Complex Delayed-Onset Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I’ve had many occasions upon which the quiet and steady counsel of Hassan has brought me around to remember it was not my fault and I didn’t need to keep secret the abuse I suffered at the hands of my mother, nor did I have to let it define or constrain my dreams and aspirations. I could, with his positive encouragement, continue to manage the symptomology and begin to define who I am on my terms, not the false identity created by my childhood. He saw who I was before I did. That faith in my abilities and possibilities continues to this day and that is a gift I can, and will, always treasure.

It may be due to my childhood that everything I viewed was black or white, right or wrong, yes or no. Hassan demonstrated a calm reasoning in our discussions that showed me the nuance of each argument and that no story has two sides like a coin. Hassan’s calm, quiet, and generous demeanor has taught me to be less reactive, less combative, and to assess and think about situations and repercussions; unlike my previous black or white, right or wrong, yes or no worldview. This has been a major facture in the improvement of my overall health; Hassan has taught me that I am likeable, loveable, and a good person.

Because Hassan Diab is a kind, generous, calm, and moderating presence in my life, I live a better quality of life than prior to our meeting. As I said, I cannot tell you the date or year that I met Hassan. I can tell you what life was like before I met Hassan. I can tell you what life is like since I met Hassan. It has been wonderful and improving due to his friendship and guidance. I want others to experience the positive personality of Hassan Diab and take away from it something that will benefit them and those around them, just as had occurred for me.

I am deeply troubled that Hassan’s life and livelihood are being ruined by false, unfounded allegations. How long must we bear the sight of an innocent fellow citizen at the mercy of unsourced intelligence masquerading as evidence? There is no justification for the ills that have befallen Hassan, and nothing can ever fully compensate for the part of his life that has been stolen away, and for the loss of his good name and reputation.

Mary Jo Welch, B.Sc.
Brandon University
Brandon, Manitoba

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dawg's Blawg: Hassan Diab – Canada’s Dreyfus?

Check out what Dr. Dawg is saying about the case of Dr. Hassan Diab.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Campagne contre la "justice Kafkaesque"

[Click here for English version.]

Solidarité avec Hassan Diab

Le Comité de Soutien à Hassan Diab lance une campagne de lettres aux députés canadiens visant à protester contre l’usage par le gouvernement de renseignements secrets et sans source [lire: d’innombrables couches de ouï-dires non-prouvées] comme preuves devant les tribunaux canadiens.

Dans un cas qui rappelle la tristement célèbre affaire Dreyfus, le Dr. Hassan Diab pourrait être extradé à cause de renseignements de fiabilité inconnue et impossible à tester, et d’une analyse de l’écriture fondamentalement erronée.

En utilisant des renseignements comme preuves, le gouvernement facilite l’extradition "légale" de citoyens canadiens vers des pays étrangers sur la base de renseignements secrets et sans sources qui ne peuvent être testés ou contestés en cour, et qui peuvent être le produit de la torture ou de traitements cruels, inhumains ou dégradants.

Le cas du Dr. Diab est le premier cas dans l’histoire du Canada dans lequel le gouvernement se base sur des renseignements secrets et sans source pour extrader un citoyen canadien.

Si nous laissons passer ce cas-ci, d’autres suivront.

Cette décision sans précédent d’utiliser des renseignements secrets et sans source comme preuve dans le cas d’un citoyen canadien est inquiétante, surtout dans le contexte de la "guerre au terrorisme". Elle renforce un peu plus la légalisation de situations semblables à Guantanamo au Canada.

Nous avons besoin de votre aide!

Comment vous impliquer dans cette campagne importante:

ÉCRIVEZ À VOTRE DÉPUTÉ FEDERAL – Ci-dessous, vous trouverez une lettre que le Comité de Soutien à Hassan Diab a envoyée aux députés plus tôt ce mois-ci. Vous pouvez utiliser notre lettre ou encore écrire la vôtre. SVP considérez de souligner les injustices dans le cas du Dr. Diab et l’inégalité inhérente à l’usage de renseignements secrets et sans source pour priver une personne de sa liberté. Si vous ne savez pas qui est votre député, vous pouvez le trouver avec votre code postal ici: Nous apprécierons que vous nous informiez quand vous aurez envoyé une lettre, pour que nous puissions savoir combien de lettre ont été écrites:

FAITES UN DON – Le Comité de Soutien à Hassan Diab a lancé une campagne de levée de fonds pour couvrir les frais légaux ainsi que les coûts pour faire témoigner des experts durant les audiences d’extradition en juin 2010. Durant ces audiences, des experts vont témoigner au sujet de failles fondamentales dans le cas contre le Dr. Diab et de l’impossibilité de se fier à l’usage de renseignements sans source comme preuves. Les frais légaux pour les audiences et le coût des experts sont de plus de 150 000$. Hassan a dépensé toutes ses économies personnelles et n’a pas été en mesure de se trouver un travail suite à son renvoi injuste de l’Université Carleton. Nous serons extrêmement reconnaissants pour tout soutien financier que vous pourriez offrir. Un don de n’importe quel montant serait immensément utile.

Pour faire un don au fond de défense légal de Hassan, SVP visitez:, ou envoyez un chèque directement à l’adresse suivante:

Bayne Sellar Boxall
Attention: Diab legal defence fund
Suite 500, 200 Elgin Street
Ottawa, Ontario K2P 1L5 Canada
(SVP faire le cheque au nom de "Bayne Sellar Boxall")

Finalement, SVP considérez d’envoyer cet appel à des supporters de la justice sociale.


Comité de Soutien à Hassan Diab

Cher député, chère députée,

Nous vous écrivons au sujet du Dr. Hassan Diab, un citoyen canadien qui vit à Ottawa, Canada. Le Dr. Diab est dans une situation kafkaesque depuis le mois de novembre 2008, quand il a été accusé par un juge d'instruction français (sur la base de renseignements secrets et sans source) d’implication dans une attaque près d’une synagogue de Paris en 1980. Dans un cas qui rappelle "Le Procès" de Kafka, ni le Dr. Diab ni son avocat, ni les juges canadien et français ne connaissent la source ni la fiabilité des renseignements secrets et sans source qui relieraient soi-disant le Dr. Diab à l’attaque.

Les audiences d’extradition du Dr. Diab étaient prévues en janvier 2010, mais elles ont été ajournées à la demande de la Couronne qui révise les preuves de la défense qui montrent l’impossibilité manifeste de se fier à des renseignements sans source et à l’analyse de l’écriture. Entre temps, le Dr. Diab continue de vivre sous des conditions de remise en liberté très strictes, doit payer 1 500$ par mois pour le GPS, et est incapable de trouver du travail suite à son congédiement injuste de l’Université Carleton.

Ironiquement, plus de cent ans après l’affaire Dreyfus, le Dr. Diab se retrouve dans une situation analogue dans laquelle des renseignements secrets et sans source, et une analyse de l’écriture erronée sur laquelle on ne peut manifestement pas se fier sont au cœur du cas de la poursuite. Alfred Dreyfus a été faussement accusé et reconnu coupable sur la base d’une analyse de l’écriture erronée et de renseignements secrets qui ne lui ont jamais été révélés ni à son avocat pour des motifs de sécurité nationale. Dans le cas du Dr. Diab, le Ministre de la Justice en tant que Procureur général du Canada se base (pour la première fois dans l’histoire du Canada) sur des renseignements sans source et secrets d’une fiabilité inconnue et impossible à tester pour extrader un citoyen canadien. Ceci malgré qu’il a été prouvé par la défense que les enquêteurs français ont façonné leurs renseignements (souvent de manière contradictoire) pour qu’ils appuient leur "théorie".

Dans l’affaire Dreyfus, les "experts" en analyse de l’écriture ont attribué les différences entre l’écriture de Dreyfus et celle sur les documents qui lui sont attribués à sa capacité à manipuler son écriture. De la même manière, les "experts" français dans le cas du Dr. Diab attribuent les différences entre les documents de comparaison et les documents qui lui sont attribués à la capacité du Dr. Diab à changer son style d’écriture. Ce qui est encore plus choquant dans le cas du Dr. Diab est qu’il a été prouvé que les spécimens qui lui sont attribués et qui sont utilisés par les deux analystes français de l’écriture ont été écrits par quelqu’un d’autre. Quatre des meilleurs experts de l’écriture au monde ont jugé que l’analyse de l’écriture dans le cas du Dr. Diab était fondamentalement erronée et que les analystes français n’ont pas respecté les standards professionnels reconnus, ont commis de graves erreurs et ont manqué d’objectivité.

L’extradition d’un citoyen canadien fondée sur des renseignements sans source et de fiabilité inconnue et impossible à tester serait un précédent légal choquant et dangereux. Les principes du droit canadien ne devraient pas être compromis par l’indifférence apparente d’un autre pays pour les problèmes légales et au niveau des droits humains qui surviennent quand on utilise des renseignements comme des preuves dans un procès criminel. Nous faisons appel à vous pour nous aider à mettre fin à de telles pratiques anti-démocratiques, injustes et inéquitables en demandant au Ministre de la Justice d’abandonner son utilisation de renseignements secrets et sans source dans les cas d’extradition.

Finalement, nous vous demandons de garder un œil ouvert pour le cas du Dr. Diab, qui pose une menace profondément troublante sur la Charte Canadienne des Droits et Libertés telle qu’elle s’applique à tous les Canadiens.

Pour plus d’informations sur le cas du Dr. Diab, veuillez voir:

Pour plus d’informations, SVP n’hésitez pas à entrer en contact avec le Comité de soutien au Hassan Diab:


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Friday, May 14, 2010

Campaign Against "Kafkaesque Justice”

[Cliquez ici pour la version française.]

We are writing to inform you about the campaign against "Kafkaesque justice” in Canada.

The Hassan Diab Support Committee is launching a letter-writing campaign to Canadian Members of Parliament, protesting the government’s use of secret, unsourced intelligence [read: countless layers of unsubstantiated hearsay] as evidence in Canadian courts.

In a case reminiscent of the infamous Dreyfus affair, Dr. Hassan Diab may be extradited based on intelligence information of unknown, untestable reliability and fundamentally flawed handwriting analysis.

By using intelligence as evidence, the government is facilitating the “legal” extradition of Canadian citizens to foreign countries based on secret, unsourced intelligence that cannot be tested or challenged in court, and that may be the product of torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.

Dr. Diab's case is the first case in Canadian history in which the government is relying on secret and unsourced intelligence to extradite a Canadian citizen. If allowed to pass, other cases could follow.

This unprecedented decision to use secret and unsourced intelligence as evidence in cases concerning Canadian citizens is chilling, particularly in the context of the “war on terror”. It establishes the further legalization of Guantanamo-like situations in Canada

We need your help! Scroll down for information on how to get involved in this important campaign.

WRITE TO YOUR MP - Below is a letter that the Hassan Diab Support Committee has sent to Members of Parliament earlier this month. Feel free to use our letter or write your own. Please consider highlighting the injustices in Dr. Diab’s case and the unfairness inherent in using secret, unsourced “intelligence” to deprive a person of his/her liberty. If you do not know who your MP is, you can search by postal code at We would appreciate it if you'd let us know when you've sent a letter, as we'd like to keep track of how many letters have been written.

MAKE A DONATION - The Hassan Diab Support Committee is engaged in a fundraising campaign to cover the legal fees as well as the costs of bringing experts to the June 2010 extradition hearing. At the hearing, top experts will testify about the fundamental flaws in the case against Dr. Diab, and the manifest unreliability of using unsourced intelligence as evidence. The legal fees for the hearing and the costs of retaining the experts are well above $150,000.

Hassan has exhausted his personal savings, and has not been able to find work following his unfair dismissal from Carleton University. We are extremely grateful for any financial support you can provide. A donation of any amount would be immensely helpful.

To donate to Hassan's legal defence fund, please visit:, or send a check directly to Hassan's legal defence at the following address:

Bayne Sellar Boxall
Attention: Diab legal defence fund
Suite 500, 200 Elgin Street
Ottawa, Ontario K2P 1L5
(Please make check payable to: "Bayne Sellar Boxall")

Finally, please consider forwarding this appeal to supporters of social justice.

Thank you,

Hassan Diab Support Committee

Dear <Member of Parliament>,

We are writing to you on behalf of Dr. Hassan Diab, a Canadian citizen who lives in Ottawa, Canada. Dr. Diab has been in a Kafkaesque situation since November 2008, when he was accused by a French examining magistrate – based on secret and unsourced intelligence – of involvement in an attack near a Paris synagogue in 1980. In a case reminiscent of Kafka’s “The Trial”, neither Dr. Diab or his lawyer, nor the Canadian Judge or the French judge, knows the source or the reliability of the secret and unsourced intelligence that allegedly links Dr. Diab to the attack.

Dr. Diab’s extradition hearing was scheduled to begin in January 2010, but it has been adjourned at the request of the Crown Attorney who is reviewing defense evidence that shows the manifest unreliability of the unsourced intelligence and the handwriting analysis in Dr. Diab’s case. In the meantime, Dr. Diab continues to live under very strict bail conditions, is required to pay $1,500 per month for a GPS monitoring device, and is unable to find work following his unjust dismissal from Carleton University.

Ironically, more than a century after the Dreyfus affair, Dr. Diab finds himself in an analogous situation in which secret unsourced intelligence and manifestly unreliable handwriting analysis are at the core of the prosecution’s case. Alfred Dreyfus was falsely accused and convicted based on handwriting analysis and secret information that was not disclosed to him or his counsel on national security grounds. In Dr. Diab’s case, the Minister of Justice in his capacity as Attorney General of Canada is relying – for the first time in Canadian history – on unsourced and secret intelligence of unknown and untestable reliability to extradite a Canadian citizen. This is despite evidence put forward by the defense that shows that the French investigators tailored their intelligence – often in contradictory ways – to make it fit their “theory”.

In Dreyfus’ case, the handwriting “experts” attributed differences between Dreyfus’ handwriting and the questioned document to his ability to manipulate his handwriting. Similarly, the French handwriting “experts” in Dr. Diab’s case attribute differences between the comparison documents and the questioned document to Dr. Diab’s ability to change his writing style. Even more shocking in Dr. Diab’s case is the fact that comparison specimens attributed to him and used by the two French handwriting analysts are now proven to have been written by someone else. Four of the world’s top handwriting experts assert that the handwriting analysis in Dr. Diab’s case is fundamentally flawed, and that the French analysts failed to adhere to widely recognized professional standards, committed grave errors, and lacked objectivity.

Extradition of a Canadian citizen based on unsourced intelligence of unknown and untestable reliability would establish a shocking and dangerous legal precedent. Canada’s legal principles should not become compromised by another country’s apparent indifference to legal and human rights quandaries arising from treating intelligence as evidence in criminal cases. We urge you to help end such undemocratic, unjust, and unfair practices by demanding that the Minister of Justice abandon his reliance on secret and unsourced intelligence in extradition cases.

Finally, we ask you to keep a vigilant eye on Dr. Diab’s case, which poses a deeply troubling threat to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as it applies to all Canadians.

To know more about Dr. Diab’s case, please visit Please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Diab’s support committee at for further information.

Yours Sincerely,