Sunday, November 27, 2011

Opening Remarks at Fundraising Dinner for Hassan Diab

On November 26, 2011, at a fundraising dinner for Hassan Diab in Ottawa, Yahya Abdul Rahman gave the following opening remarks.

"I would like to thank everyone for coming tonight. The purpose of this gathering is to lend our support to our brother and sister Hassan and Rania who are victims of what we consider to be a travesty of justice. We, who are involved in the social justice and peace movement, are of the firm conviction that, in the words of Martin Luther King Jr., 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.'

In the case of Hassan we are reminded of our own vulnerabilities in which the state can wield its power over individuals and toss out all principles of fairness and justice. It is Hassan today but, if the system which has permitted this to happen remains in place, then it could very well be one of us tomorrow.

We are committed to the principle that everyone in considered innocent unless concretely proven otherwise in a court of law devoid of any outside political interference.

We also hold that everyone has the right to know the identity of their accusers as well as the evidence being used against them.

Furthermore, we hold the view that people have a right to a fair and speedy trial.

Without these principles in place then the security of all is in jeopardy. Thus, when we defend our brother Hassan we not only defend him, but we are also defending a principle which seeks to check the power of the state to arbitrarily arrest someone and use flimsy evidence to support their case.

In the absence of these principles society will descend into fascism and no one will be secure.

We don't want Hassan and Rania to feel they are alone in their struggle. We desire to form the bonds of human solidarity and let them know that their struggle is our struggle.

It was Helen Keller who stated that, 'Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other's welfare, social justice can never be attained.'

We hold this truth to be self evident and in this spirit open this evening's event."

-- Yahya Abdul Rahman, Ottawa, November 26, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Fundraising Dinner In Support of Hassan Diab

Date: Saturday November 26, 2011
Time: 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Place: Carleton Heights Community Center, 1665 Apeldoorn Ave, Ottawa

Dinner tickets are $30 per person or $80 per family (of four).

Please join us for a delicious multi-course dinner with poetry reading, soft Middle Eastern music, and a silent auction in support of Dr. Hassan Diab.

Dinner includes a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, dessert, juice, soft drinks, coffee, and tea.

How to Purchase or Reserve Tickets

To purchase or reserve tickets, email or call (613) 322-6117

You can also purchase tickets via Interac e-Transfer to Your tickets will be available for pickup at the event. Here is a summary of the steps:
  1. Log in to your on-line banking and navigate to “Interac e-Transfer”.

  2. Fill in the form for sending money. Specify as the email address. Ask a security question that we can answer, such as “What is Hassan’s family name”. Include your name in the Message field. Then click “Send”.

On June 6, 2011, an Ontario judge committed Hassan for extradition based on a French handwriting analysis report that alleges similarities between Hassan’s handwriting and five words appearing on a Paris hotel registration card in 1980. The judge described the French report as “very problematic”, “very convoluted”, “very confusing”, “pseudo-science”, and “with conclusions that are suspect”.

Canada’s extradition law allows foreign countries to seize any Canadian citizen based on a mere summary of the allegations. The foreign state can cherry-pick its case and suppress exonerating evidence. Hassan’s palm and finger prints do not match those of the suspect, yet that information was suppressed from the Record of the Case. The extradition court must treat the foreign state’s evidence as presumptively reliable, and the burden is placed on the accused to prove that the case is “manifestly unreliable”. In practice, however, it is almost impossible to demonstrate “manifest unreliability”.

Hassan is in a Catch-22 situation. In Canada, the “evidence” used against him is presumed reliable, even though it does not meet Canadian standards of evidence. At trial in France, defence evidence will not receive full and fair consideration, because it was furnished by the defence rather than by the investigating magistrate.

We must demand that Canadian standards of evidence apply to extradition cases, and that Canada not extradite its citizens to countries that allow secret intelligence — including intelligence obtained from torture — to be used as evidence.

Hassan continues to live under very strict bail conditions and is saddled with hefty legal fees and paying $2,000 per month for the GPS monitoring he is required to wear.

Please help us challenge the fundamental unfairness of Canada’s extradition law and prevent a gross injustice.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

"J'Accuse": Toronto Fundraiser for Hassan Diab

Date: Saturday October 29, 2011
Time: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Place: Beit Zatoun House, 612 Markham Street, Toronto, Canada

An evening of powerful dramatic readings from Hassan Diab, Emile Zola, and others who have broken the silence and spoken out about the injustices they face.

In 1894 Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish French soldier, was charged with treason. The accusation, based on fraudulent handwriting analysis, unleashed waves of anti-Semitism. Eminent French writer Emile Zola wrote J’Accuse to expose “the spectre of the innocent man who, far away, is suffering the most atrocious of tortures for a crime he did not commit -- It is a crime to exploit patriotism for works of hate.”

Right now, exactly repeating the past, France rests its case against Hassan Diab on the basis of fraudulent handwriting analysis. In this climate of Islamophobia, France has asked the Canadian government to comply and to extradite Hassan Diab to France where he faces an unfair trial that could land him in jail for life. Hassan remains under house arrest in Canada.

• Doors open at 6:45 PM
• Tasty refreshments (non-alcoholic) and Zatoun olive oil and za'atar dipping
• Donation (suggested $10)

View announcement for this event

For more information:
Phone: (647) 726-9500

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Public Lecture: Extradition Law on Trial

Join a discussion of legal, factual and political questions in the case against Hassan Diab, a former Carleton and University of Ottawa professor. Find out:
  • Why exonerating evidence was not allowed in court
  • How Canada’s extradition law is fundamentally unfair
  • Why a fair trial in France is unlikely
Date: Wednesday October 19, 2011
7:00 – 9:00 PM
Place: Dunton Tower, Room 2203, Carleton University, Ottawa

  • Donald Bayne, Partner at the law firm Bayne Sellar Boxall
  • Nathalie Des Rosiers, General Counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association
  • Bill Skidmore, Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies (Human Rights) at Carleton University
View poster for this event

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Seminar on Middle Eastern Cultures and Societies - Presented by Dr. Hassan Diab

Seminar: Middle Eastern Cultures and Societies

Five sessions (each session is 2 hours long)
Presented by Dr. Hassan Diab

  • When: Five Wednesdays (September 28, October 5-12-19-26, 2011), 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

  • Where: Ottawa, Ontario (near Meadowlands)

  • Cost: $100 for five sessions, to be donated to the Hassan Diab Legal Defence Fund

  • Contact:

The situation in the Middle East – Arab Spring – is Big News every day. But how much do we really know about (and understand) the people living there – in Lybia, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Bahrain, etc.?

This seminar by Dr. Hassan Diab offers an in-depth perspective about Middle Eastern cultures and societies in an engaging, conversational, and informal atmosphere. The seminar is composed of five sessions or meetings, each session is 2 hours long.

This is a unique opportunity to find answers to many of the questions you have about the Middle East, as well as participate in interesting discussions.


Session 1 (History and Economy): A Historical Perspective of Middle Eastern Societies. This session covers some of the major historical events that led to the formation of current societies and states in the Middle East. We will focus on the relationship between colonialism and the rise of the "dependent" contemporary societies and states in the region.

Session 2 (Culture): Cultural Perspectives and Practices in the Middle East: The Non-Orientalist Approaches. In this session, we will focus on the similarities and differences in cultural formations and practices in the region. We will also discuss the problems that arise from adopting the orientalist approach to understanding societies in the region. Edward Said's views will be critically discussed and examples from cultural practices in the Middle East will be objectively presented.

Session 3 (Politics): Political Development and the Formation of Current Political Systems in the Middle East. This session seeks to shed some light on the historical formation of current political systems in the region. We will examine the aspirations of various political movements, and the obstacles faced in developing mostly tribal societies into modern democratic political entities. Unfulfilled promises of modernization theories will be probed.

Session 4 (Religion): Religion and Its Role in Societies and Cultures in the Middle East: Myths and Realities. This session will provide a general view of the three main religions in the Middle East, focusing mainly on Islam and its main branches. We will examine the role of religion in Middle Eastern societies. We will also analyze Western media coverage of events in the Middle East.

Session 5 (Arab Spring): The Future of the Middle East: A Vibrant or Stagnant Region? This session discusses the current events which led to the "Arab Spring" and its potential to achieve the hopes and aspirations of people in the region.

(Additional readings may be assigned as needed).

  1. Cities of Salt, by Abdul Rahman Munif (a novel translated from Arabic; available at the Public Library)
  2. Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa (a novel; may be available in the Public Library).

Articles & Chapters in Books:
  1. Said, Edward. 1995. “Introduction.” Pp. 1-28 in Orientalism. London, England: Penguin Books.
  2. Amin, Samir. 1989. “The Construction of Eurocentric Culture.” Pp. 89-117 in Eurocentrism. New York, New York: Monthly Press Review.
  3. Abu-Lughod, Lila. 2002. “Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving? Anthropological Reflections on Cultural Relativism and Its Others.” American Anthropologist 104(3):783-790.
  4. Said, Edward. 1995. “The Latest Phase.” Pp. 284-328 in Orientalism. London, England: Penguin Books.

Teaching is Dr. Diab’s livelihood and passion. We hope that YOU will not miss this great opportunity to attend his lectures.

Dr. Hassan Diab is a Lebanese Canadian sociology professor who is an expert on the Middle East. He holds a Ph.D. (1995) in Sociology from Syracuse University, New York. He is the author of the book “Beirut: Reviving Lebanon's Past” which examines Beirut’s financial role in the Middle East, and the repercussions of that role on Lebanese society and politics.

In addition to his academic credentials, Dr. Diab has over 20-years teaching experience in various universities in North America and the Middle East.

Teaching is Dr. Diab's livelihood and passion, but he has not been able to find employment since he lost his teaching job at Carleton University due to external pressure.

Since November 2008, Dr. Diab has been fighting his extradition to France for his alleged involvement in a bombing in Paris in 1980 – a crime he did not commit. Dr. Diab's fingerprints do not match those of the suspect. His palm prints do not match. His physical description does not match. Yet, at the end of a lengthy extradition hearing in June 2011, the Canadian judge decided to commit Hassan to extradition based on flawed handwriting analysis that the judge himself described as “problematic”, “very confusing”, and with “conclusions that are suspect”. The judge said he must commit because he is bound by Canada’s extradition treaty with France.

Hassan is appealing the judge’s decision, and needs your support. Hassan's case is a wake up call for all of us. We must prevent the erosion of human rights here in Canada.

For more information, see:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Canada's Extradition Process a Kafkaesque Nightmare

Imagine going to sleep and having a dream. In the soft, surreal landscapes of this dream you are a normal person living a normal life. You begin to be followed by shadowy figures, so you call the police - but it continues.

After a year of this recurring theme, the dream takes a turn; the authorities come and take you away. You've 'disappeared' into a labyrinth of byzantine officialdom, where human rights and reality and rationality are not always what they seem; where you've been charged with a hideous crime 30 years in the past; where the evidence is either secret, or ludicrous enough to be laughable - if it were only a dream.

This is not Syria or North Korea, or any other number of corrupt and paranoid police states to be found aplenty. And it's not the dust jacket blurb from a newly discovered Franz Kafka novel. It's a reality, today, in Canada...

Read the full article at:
The Vegetable News Network, Blog for the week of August 1, 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Our Civil Liberties: Myths and Realities

You are invited to join a Sunday service, with special speaker Dr. Monia Mazigh.

  • Title: Our Civil Liberties: Myths and Realities

  • Time: Sunday, July 31, 10:30 am - 1:30 pm

  • Location: First Unitarian Congregation, 30 Cleary Ave (off Richmond Road, one traffic light East of Woodroffe Ave), Ottawa, Ontario
    Bus 18 and 2, lots of parking

Special guests will be Hassan Diab and his partner Rania Tfaily, and Sophie Lamarche Harkat (wife of Mohamed Harkat)

Refreshments will be served after the service, which will also give you the opportunity to personally meet and talk with Monia and the special guests.

For more information, call: 613-828-8468

Friday, July 15, 2011

Canadian “K”: Hassan Diab’s Kafkaesque Twilight

"Despite Incredibly 'Weak Case', Hassan Diab Forced to Keep Resisting Extradition to France", by Matthew Behrens

Dr. Hassan Diab is a Canadian university professor fighting for his freedom, and for his life.

The French government wants him to face trial for what they allege is Dr. Diab's involvement in a 1980 bombing that killed four people. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.

There's a small problem: Dr. Diab's fingerprints don't match the suspect's. His palm prints do not match. The physical description does not match. The handwriting does not match. Allegations against him have been found "weak", "suspect," and "confusing" by a Canadian judge; that same judge concluded June 6 that "the case presented by the Republic of France against Mr. Diab is a weak case; the prospects of conviction in the context of a fair trial, seem unlikely."

With such a strong defence, one would think Dr. Diab would be breathing easy. Instead, he is strapped to a GPS monitoring bracelet for which he must pay $2,000 a month (a new version of the Dickensian debtors' prison, in which your freedom is now dependent on your ability to pay the state's surveillance costs), barred from leaving his home without a court-approved monitor, and faced with a curfew worse than that imposed on most 10-year-olds. He cannot teach, his home is frequently invaded by RCMP agents, and he lives with the unimaginable stress that he might spend the rest of his life in a small French jail cell...

Read the full article at:

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Case of Hassan Diab on Prism TV

On Sunday June 19, 2011, at 10:00 AM EST, Prism TV's "Rights and Security" will discuss the case of Hassan Diab.

Host: Yahya Abdul Rahman

Guests: Rania Tfaily, Hassan's partner; Matthew Berhens, human rights campaigner; and Gary Botting, a Vancouver-based lawyer and expert in extradition law and wrongful conviction

Watch online at:

For more information, visit:

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Unfairness of Canada’s Extradition Law

Hassan Diab's case highlights the injustice of Canada’s Extradition Law and should be of concern to everyone. The issue was widely covered in the media, including the following:

Friday, May 27, 2011

ACTION ALERT: Send Letters to Editor in Support of Hassan Diab

Please take the time to send a brief letter to the Editor in support of Hassan Diab.

On Wednesday May 25, Hassan Diab's lawyer asked the extradition judge to take into account a recent ruling by the Ontario Court of appeal, and allow the introduction of additional handwriting reports to demonstrate (once again!) the total unreliability of France's handwriting evidence. Several French handwriting experts are willing to testify that the methodology and conclusions of the handwriting evidence are totally flawed.

Read Ottawa Citizen coverage of Wednesday's hearing.

This morning, the judge denied the lawyer’s request. A decision on whether to "commit" Hassan for extradition (basically, the first step in shipping Hassan overseas, which involves imprisonment) will be issued on June 6th.

Read Ottawa Citizen coverage of today’s decision

Please write letters to the Editor expressing your concern about the extradition process and your support for Hassan Diab.

In your letters, you can raise one or more of the following points:

  • As Hassan's case shows, the standard of evidence for extraditing Canadian citizens does not come near to meeting standards for a fair trial.

  • It is very alarming that Hassan's extradition may be allowed to proceed SOLELY on the basis of handwriting analysis that the judge himself has said is “very problematic, very confusing, and with conclusions that are suspect".
    It is unacceptable that France based its original extradition request on completely unsourced and secret intelligence that may be the product of torture.

  • It is unacceptable that France has withheld information favourable to Hassan from the judge, such as the fact that Hassan’s palm prints and fingerprints do not match those of the suspect.

  • Letters must be very short (100 words or less); include name, postal address and daytime phone number of the writer; state "Letter to the Editor" in the Subject line; and content should be in the body of the email (i.e. do not send as an attachment).

Email addresses are provided below:

Globe and Mail:
National Post:
Ottawa Citizen:
Ottawa Sun:
Hill Times (Federal Parliament):

Thanks for your continued support.

Hassan Diab Support Committee

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Petition for Renewal of Dr. Hassan Diab’s Bail

We urge you to take a stand for the principles of fundamental justice and for the presumption of innocence in the case of Dr. Hassan Diab by signing the petition at:

As you may recall, Dr. Diab is a Canadian citizen and sociology professor who lives in Ottawa. He is fighting extradition to France where he is accused of involvement in a bombing near a Paris synagogue in 1980. The allegations are based on deeply flawed handwriting analysis and secret "intelligence" that has not been disclosed to Hassan's defence or the Canadian judge.

On June 6, 2011, a decision is expected regarding whether Dr. Diab will be committed for extradition. If committed, a judge will decide whether Hassan remains on bail or is put in jail while he appeals his extradition in the Canadian courts, a process that could take several years.

We urge you add your name to the petition asking the judge to renew Hassan’s bail while he is appealing his extradition.

Since his release from detention on April 1st, 2009, Hassan has dutifully abided by all the terms of his bail, and has not committed a single infraction.

This petition is not a declaration of guilt or innocence. Rather, it is an attempt to uphold the principle of innocent until proven otherwise, and the right for Hassan to be free on bail while defending himself in the courts.

Finally, please help us spread the word by sharing this appeal and the petition widely.

Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this urgent matter.

Hassan Diab Support Committee

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Toronto Event, May 19: Kafka in the Courts, the Case of Hassan Diab

Join us for an event in Toronto highlighting the injustices in Canada's extradition law.

Kafka in the Court: Hassan Diab v. Canada's Unjust Extradition Law

Where: Steelworkers Hall, 25 Cecil Street, Toronto
When: Thursday, May 19, 7:15 PM

  • Rania Tfaily, sociology professor, Carleton University; wife of Hassan Diab
  • Jessica Orkin, criminal justice lawyer, with an emphasis on constitutional law and human rights; appears before the Supreme Court
  • Matthew Behrens, Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada
  • Toronto Action for Social Change
  • Christian Peacemaker Teams
  • Canadian Arab Federation
For further information about this event, contact:

Hassan Diab is a Canadian facing unjust extradition proceedings – which could see him forcibly removed to France - based on deeply flawed “evidence”. He has always maintained his innocence and condemns all ethnically and religiously motivated violence. Canada’s unfair Extradition Law allows Canadians to be shipped to foreign countries based on flimsy, unreliable evidence not accepted in domestic Canadian trials.

In Hassan's case, Canadian Extradition Law has:
  • Allowed deeply flawed handwriting analysis as evidence, despite the Canadian judge finding it "very problematic, very confusing, and with conclusions that are suspect".

  • Allowed the authorities to proceed despite the fact that Hassan's physical description and his finger and palm prints do not match those of the suspect.

  • Allowed the case to go forward despite numerous serious contradictions and misrepresentations, and despite reliance on secret intelligence in the Record of the Case.
We all have a stake in supporting Hassan in his pursuit of justice. Canada’s shockingly low standard for extraditing its citizens is a threat to the principles of fairness and fundamental justice, and could be used against any of us.

For more information about Hassan's case, read the article on

For additional information, visit:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Souper bénéfice pour supporter Hassan Diab

Date: Samedi le 16 avril 2011 de 16h30 à 20h30
Au: Mosaic Carling Buffet, 2583 Avenue Carling, Ottawa

Le souper bénéfice est une activité pour supporter le Dr. Hassan Diab, Canadien d’origine libanaise et professeur de sociologie faisant face à des procédures d’extradition injustes. L’injuste loi canadienne d’extradition permet que des Canadiens et des Canadiennes soient envoyé.es vers des pays étrangers sur la base de preuves peu solides et peu fiables qui ne sont pas acceptées par les tribunaux canadiens. Nous sommes tous et toutes concernées par la poursuite de la justice menée par le Dr. Diab.

Les billets pour le souper bénéfice sont de 20$ par personne et de 60$ par famille. Les prix incluent le buffet à volonté du Mosaic.

Les billets sont disponibles en pré-vente à Ottawa. Vous pouvez trouver un point de vente ici

Come to a Fundraising Dinner for Hassan Diab

You are invited to a fundraising dinner in support of Hassan Diab. Click here for a flyer for the event.

When: Saturday, April 16, 2011, 4:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Where: Mosaic Carling Buffet, 2583 Carling Avenue, Ottawa

Dinner tickets are $20 per person or $60 per family. This includes Mosaic’s ALL YOU CAN EAT BUFFET.

You can purchase fundraising dinner tickets in three ways:
  • Send e-money transfer, $20 for each single ticket or $60 for a family pass, to Include your name with the money transfer. Your tickets will be available for pickup at the event.

  • Or visit one of the following stores to purchase tickets directly:

    • New Middle East Supermarket, 1755 Bank St, Ottawa, Tel (613) 526-3423
    • Al Sham Food and Meat Market, 4000 Bridal Path, Ottawa, Tel (613) 745-2477
    • Sultan Supermarket, 2446 Bank St., Ottawa, Tel (613) 736-1600
    • Guardian / Hunt Club Pharmacy (Contact: Solly Saloojee), 2430 Bank St, Ottawa, Tel (613) 521-7955
    • Malak Pastry (Contact: Abou-Rabeih), 1216 Bank St, Ottawa, Tel (613) 526-2002
    • Aladdin Bakery (Contact: Samera Ghadban-Farhat), 1801 Carling Ave., Ottawa, Tel (613) 728-5331
    • Damas Supermarket, 3033 Carling Ave, Ottawa, Tel (613) 726-1792

  • Or call (613) 686-5599, and make arrangements for ticket pickup.

Monday, March 28, 2011

CUPW Letter to the Canadian Minister of Justice

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers wrote a letter to the Canadian Minister of Justice, Mr. Robert Nicholson, concerning Dr. Hassan Diab’s extradition case.

... Recently, the court refused to exclude “very problematic” and “very confusing” handwriting evidence against Dr. Diab, saying that Canadian standards of evidence do not apply in an extradition case.

The court also refused to admit finger and palm print evidence. The court dismissed it as “competing inference” – which is not allowed in an extradition case.

CUPW believes that in any extradition case, the court must ensure there is sufficient and reliable evidence to support the request...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dawg's Blawg: Hassan Diab: Hearing over, Judgement Expected in June

Check out Dr. Dawg's blog on Hassan's extradition case.

As citizens, we do what we can against colossal institutional processes that have nothing to do with justice. Evidence doesn’t matter in Diab’s case. Misrepresentations don’t matter. Only our voices matter when the normal rule of law is effectively abandoned in favour of post-9/11 paranoia.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

“A complete railroad job”

By Rachel Anjorin

Amidst all the legal hullaballoo of the Hassan Diab case, something critical keeps fading out of view. Simply put: Hassan is innocent, as proven by French investigators’ own case documents and palm print and finger print mismatches -- and they know this but don’t want to accept it.

So, why do French investigators pursue Hassan when they know he is innocent? We can speculate about possible political ambition, tunnel vision, fear of embarrassment, and the desire to score “hero points”.

However, what really matters is what happens to the innocent man caught up in this runaway legal process.

The judge can decide to (1) extradite Hassan, (2) refuse to extradite Hassan, or (3) stay the entire proceedings.

Option 1 involves sending an innocent man to an unfair trial in France, under an inquisitorial (or shall we say “inquisitional”?) system whereby he cannot bring his own witnesses and cannot challenge the sources of secret intelligence.

Option 2 amounts to a decision that there is not enough evidence for extradition. While this is true, this is a decision that doesn’t begin to address the real horrors in this case under this body of extradition law and a legal process that has seen suppression of exonerating evidence and falsehoods entered into the Record of the Case as “presumptively reliable”. This option would fail to provide redress for the abusive prosecution of a man known to be innocent, costing him his freedom, livelihood, and years of his life. This option would not prevent French investigators from restarting the entire extradition process.

Option 3 would be to stay (halt) the entire case, ending the matter once and for all, and recognizing the wrongdoing French investigators have committed against Hassan and against the Canadian court. Real and authentic justice would require the judge to acknowledge that France has abused the Canadian legal process.

In sum, the options are:
  • Option 1: Committal for extradition leading to almost certain conviction in a kangaroo court followed by life in prison
  • Option 2: Abstaining from a definitive decision either way
  • Option 3: Authentic justice

French investigators insist that the judge accept the Record of the Case as originally put forth in 2008, and ignore all the significant evidence that has come to light since then. The French stance amounts to saying, “In the extradition treaty, you promised to accept whatever we say as reliable; so we insist that you do so, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. You’re bound by treaty to accept our theory, as improbable as it may be in view of the facts. While you may have caught us lying about some things, you have to believe us anyway. After all, you promised!”

Hassan’s lawyer presented nine abuses of process (selected from a larger number) perpetrated by French investigators in this case. These are deliberate misrepresentations and omissions that were used together with secret intelligence and bogus handwriting analysis to fabricate the case against Hassan.

In an adversarial legal system, the prosecutor is supposed to marshal all the evidence against the accused and leverage this evidence for all it’s worth to get a conviction. But in an adversarial system, the accused also has the defence to marshal exonerating evidence, and to counterbalance the prosecutor. Each side must address the points made by the other side, so everyone has the same opportunity for influence on the outcome of the case.

Extradition law has none of this balance. The accused is severely disadvantaged, while the prosecutor representing the requesting state needs to prove almost nothing in order to achieve extradition.

That’s why it’s so crucial to have an honest Record of the Case for an extradition hearing. The Record of the Case must be scrupulously fair, candid and representative of all the evidence in the case. This is the only way to ensure a modicum of balance and fairness when someone may be deprived of his liberty.

In this extradition process, French investigators want to have their cake and eat it too. They want to enjoy the presumptive reliability accorded by treaty while suppressing exonerating evidence, cherry-picking evidence, contradicting themselves, and stretching and spinning the evidence in very misleading ways. They also want Candians extradited to their country, while they would never extradite their own citizens. If they are allowed to get away with this, then Hassan Diab’s case will be a complete railroad job. And it will mean any Canadian is a sitting duck whenever any of Canada’s extradition partners is looking for a scapegoat with whom to close a case.

A decision to stay the extradition proceedings would be the only truly just option in this case, and it would have to be based on the nine abuses identified by the defence.

As to the insistence of French investigators on continued trust, I say:

Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice, shame on me.
Fool me 9 times? OUTRIGHT ABUSE.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dawg's Blawg: Hassan Diab: Another Stop on the Railroad

Check out Dr. Dawg's blog on Hassan's extradition case and the terrible decision on the bogus handwriting evidence.

The farcical and contradictory French evidence must be taken as "presumptively reliable" under current extradition law. Canadian citizens whose extradition has been requested have little legal recourse to prevent it. Now, thanks to Justice Maranger, they have even less.

Torture in the court

British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) expresses concerns about recent decision regarding handwriting evidence in Hassan Diab's extradition case.

Friday, February 18, 2011

My Kafkaesque Justice

By Rania Tfaily

The following is a presentation by Dr. Rania Tfaily, Hassan Diab's partner, which she delivered at an event, entitled “Kafkaesque Justice: The Case of Hassan Diab”, organized by the Communications, Energy, and Paperworkers (CEP) Union of Canada, Local 2025, on February 7, 2011.

In her presentation, Rania describes the Kafkaesque atmosphere that Hassan has been subjected to, since he was falsely accused by French authorities of involvement in a bombing in Paris in 1980.

Special thanks to CEP Local 2025 for organizing the event.

     I would like to share a story with you...

     Imagine that one day out of the blue you are approached by a journalist who informs you that you are under investigation for a crime that took place about 30 years ago, and that a foreign country will be seeking your extradition from Canada. Despite your insistence that you are innocent and you are willing to answer any questions within Canada’s legal framework, you see your name and reputation tarnished overnight. Life becomes difficult with media camping out outside your work place and some threatening to follow you everywhere, including your residence. Your life is turned upside down even though you are not yet charged with any wrongdoing. You know that life will be even more difficult if a legal proceeding is started against you, but you persist in continuing your life as usual because you know that you are innocent and you believe that Canada is a country of law. Despite post 9/11 political atmosphere, you still assume that the rights of individuals against unfounded allegations and suspicions are protected.

     But you soon realize that something very bizarre is going on. You are being followed in an aggressive and intimidating way by people in cars with tinted windows. Unidentified people appear out of nowhere and start taking photos of you in an aggressive manner. Someone attempts to break into your home. You report all of this (along with license plate numbers) to the Ottawa Police because you naively think that the police are there to help you. But your requests for help are ignored. In a country of law, you are intimidated and harassed and you have no one to turn to.

     After more than a year of this intimidation and harrassment, you are arrested. You spend the first month in solitary confinement locked up in a tiny cell all day long except for 15 minutes. You have no access to any reading materials and any books sent to you are confiscated. You get to taste what life is like inside a Canadian detention centre. You are often hungry because food is insufficient. You are cold because there are not enough blankets. You cough continuously because of the terrible recycled air. You are transported handcuffed and shackled to the court where you are sometimes left for long hours with no food or water. When you are moved to supposedly “protective custody”, you discover that bloody and disturbing physical violence are rampant. You and so many others live in these conditions even though you are presumed to be innocent.

     You spend over four months in detention. After an unusual six-day bail hearing along with the testimonies of five sureties and character letters from numerous academics, you are released on bail under very strict conditions which include being allowed to leave your residence only if accompanied by a surety and that you pay for a GPS monitoring system which costs around $2,000 per month. You find work doing what you have been doing for about 20 years, but you are fired after a few classes due to political pressure. Your bank account is closed. You wonder how you are supposed to pay your bills—including legal bills—and defend yourself if you are prevented from earning an income. You wonder what it means to be presumed innocent if you are already treated as if you have been convicted.

     You soldier on relying on the help of family and friends who believe in your innocence and/or want to ensure that due process is respected in Canada. You begin to learn more about the case against you. You know from one of the Crown Attorneys (before he flip-flopped on this issue) that the case against you is based on information, hypotheses, and analyses that the French intelligence service received in 1999. You have no idea how this information came about. You have no idea who said what and under what circumstances. You wonder how hypotheses and analyses become evidence in a court of law. You keep on hearing the Crown prosecutors saying that anything goes because this is an extradition. You wonder whether your government is taking the position that as a Canadian citizen you have no rights to due process because a foreign country is requesting your extradition.

     You later learn that no one involved in your case knows the source or even the reliability of the intelligence against you: not the Crown prosecutors, nor the Canadian judge, and not even the French investigators themselves, as they admit in court documents. You wonder how this can be used as “evidence” against you. It is not as if the French investigators or the Canadian government know the nature and the source of the intelligence against you but are refusing to disclose it. They simply have no idea how it came about. You wonder how you can defend yourself in these circumstances.

     You also learn that there is handwriting evidence against you. Handwritten documents from your university and immigration files were compared to five words on a hotel registration card that are believed to have been written by the suspect. One French handwriting analyst says that you could be the writer; the other analyst says you are the writer. You have no doubt that this “evidence” against you is fabricated. You know this not only because you did not fill in the hotel registration card, but also because documents used in the handwriting analysis and presumed to be written by you were actually written by your ex-wife. However, you learn that proving this is not a simple matter. First, the handwriting analysis submitted by the requesting state is presumed reliable, so the burden is on you to prove that it is unreliable. Second, you do not have an automatic right to call experts to testify on your behalf. Rather, you have to apply to the court first and convince the judge that your evidence is so overwhelming that it can render the case against you wholly unreliable.

     Your lawyer (Don Bayne) puts forward four esteemed handwriting experts who file detailed reports with the Court asserting that the handwriting evidence against you is rubbish. After a week of arguments in which the Crown prosecutors pleads with the judge not to allow you to call these experts, you win this right. You think that finally you will be able to expose this bogus evidence against you. But you soon learn that the extradition law gives enormous power to the requesting state – power that investigators in Canada do not have. Soon after the decision, the Crown attorneys request a lengthy adjournment of your extradition hearing, which is now postponed for six months. In the meantime, you live under strict conditions and you have to pay about $2,000 each month. Your application to alleviate your bail conditions so that you no longer have to pay the hefty cost of the GPS monitoring device is rejected.

     After several months and just before your re-scheduled extradition hearing is about to start, you learn that the French investigators and the Crown attorneys are withdrawing the two initial handwriting reports against you and they are filing a new report. You learn not only that you have to start the process of challenging this “new” handwriting opinion all over again, but also that the Crown attorneys are pleading with the judge not to allow you to do so. You file an abuse of process application arguing that the manner in which the handwriting analysis was handled reflects bad faith on the part of the French investigators, but the judge dismisses your application. In the meantime, you and your lawyer start going over stacks of documents that were filed as part of the request to have your residence and work place searched. To your shock, you discover that not only evidence that is helpful to you has been suppressed from the Court in Canada, but also that other evidence and the intelligence have been manipulated.

     You also learn that the French investigators knew shortly after your arrest that your palm prints do not match those left on the car used by the suspect. The French investigators never disclosed this negative result to you or to your lawyer. You also learn that the French investigators knew more than a year ago that your finger prints do not match those left by the suspect. Again this was never disclosed to you or to the Court. As one of the Crown Attorneys claimed, they are under no obligation to disclose such evidence. You also learn that the French investigators have been interviewing many people who know you, but this evidence is not presented to the Court in Canada because it is helpful to you. Anything that cast you in a positive light or is helpful to your defense is suppressed.

     Your lawyer presents the above information to the Court along with reports from three esteemed handwriting experts who rip the “new” handwriting evidence against you apart. The Crown Attorneys again fight tooth and nail to prevent you from calling this evidence. You win the right to do so. But again, your defense is limited to showing that the handwriting report filed by the French authorities is unreliable. You are prevented from calling experts who demonstrate that you did not fill in the hotel registration card and thus clear you.

     You sit through three weeks of powerful testimonies of leading experts in the field of handwriting who testify how appallingly unreliable and biased the “evidence” against you is. You know that any objective person who has heard the testimonies of these experts would conclude that a scientific handwriting analysis would actually show your innocence.

     While you wait for the final decision, you wonder whether the case against you would still have continued had Canada’s extradition law been fair and just. When you reflect on your experience, you wonder whether the case against you would have proceeded if it were not for the post 9/11 political atmosphere. When you hear the Crown prosecutors insist on using rubbish handwriting analysis opinion against you, you wonder what the Canadian government and the Department of Justice do with the recommendations of the inquires into the wrongfully convicted that were set up with the specific intention of preventing future miscarriages of justice.

While you wait, you know that your life has changed forever and that you will never get back what you lost. You hope that in the end fairness, reason, rationality, and justice will prevail...

POSTSCRIPT: On Friday February 18, the judge in Hassan’s extradition hearing stunned a packed courtroom when he decided that he will use the French handwriting analysis as evidence against Hassan, despite the fact that he finds the analysis “very problematic, very confusing, with conclusions that are suspect”.

The judge likened handwriting analysis to “pseudo-science” and found merit in the defense argument that the flawed methodology used in the handwriting analysis “results in manifestly unreliable conclusions”, but said it would violate the Extradition Act if he imposed Canadian standards of evidence admissibility on foreign evidence.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Canadian Extradition and Secret Trials

Check out a report on Dr. Hassan Diab’s extradition case by Lia Tarachansky of The Real News Network.

Canada is in a position where it always wants to kowtow to larger or more established nations. So it becomes a question not will we jump but how high will we jump, and how much do we have to bend over backwards to accommodate. In fact, never in the history of Canada have we prosecuted in Canada rather than sending people back to face prosecution in a foreign country.
- Gary Botting, Canadian lawyer and extradition specialist

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Kafkaesque Justice: An Event for Hassan Diab

Come to an event organized by Communications, Energy, and Paper Workers (CEP) Union of Canada Local 2025

When: Monday, February 7, 2011 7:00 PM

Where: PSAC Building, 233 Gilmour Street at Metcalfe, Ottawa

Should another country have the right to forcibly remove you from Canada on the basis of secret allegations?

What would it be like:
  • to suddenly be told by a foreign country you committed a crime 30 years ago
  • to face allegations based on secret intelligence, misrepresentations, incompetent handwriting analysis, and suppressed proof of innocence
Learn about Hassan Diab's case from:
  • Rania Tfaily, wife of Hassan Diab
  • Matthew Behrens, Coordinator of the Campaign to Stop Secret Trials
  • Moderator: Peter Gose, Chair of the. Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Carleton University

Check out the poster for more details.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Insane Extradition Proceedings

Listen to the interview on Five O'Clock Train, CHUO Radio, 89.1 FM, Ottawa

On January 20, 2011, Denis Rancourt interviewed Peter Gose and Donald Pratt, two members of the support network for Hassan Diab.

Find out how and why Hassan has been targeted despite his obvious innocence. Find out how evidence that proves his innocence is withheld and just how bad the so-called evidence is... Truly nightmarish.