Friday, November 8, 2013

Hassan Diab and the Sorry State of Canada's Extradition Law

By Dr. Peter Gose, November 2013

When Dr. Hassan Diab’s extradition came before the Ontario Court of Appeal on November 4 and 5, more than just his personal fate was hanging in the balance. Also at stake are larger concerns about whether extradition law undermines Canadian standards of justice, including the rights of an accused person to a defense and a trial.

The allegations against Dr. Diab are serious: that he was involved in an attack outside a synagogue in Paris on October 3, 1980. One would expect an equally serious investigation. Yet the case soon went cold and was reactivated only in 1999 when France received intelligence about someone with the common Arabic name of “Hassan Diab”. Nine years later, in 2008, France submitted an extradition request to Canada for Dr. Diab. It mostly consisted of intelligence hearsay and commentary collected from unknown sources under unknown circumstances, possibly including torture. This intelligence dump offered several competing versions of who the authors of the crime might be, what their motives were, and how they entered and left France. Buried in this thicket of conjecture were two incompatible versions of how the culprits entered the country, neither one of which applies to Dr. Diab. After airing every innuendo in them, the Crown eventually withdrew the intelligence-based arguments since their unknown sources cannot be cross-examined in court, as Canadian law requires. If Dr. Diab is extradited to France, however, their courts will treat this pastiche of allegations as authoritative evidence.

The French investigating judge has always struggled to place Dr. Diab in France and at the scene of the crime. In November 2009 he obtained a court order to have the RCMP take Dr. Diab’s fingerprints, hoping that they would match those the presumed bomber left on a windshield and a signed statement. They did not. Rather than accept Dr. Diab’s innocence, France successfully fought to keep this exonerating evidence out of the extradition hearing and relied on handwriting analysis. Two French technicians compared the presumed bomber’s writing on the signed statement and a hotel registry card to what they thought were samples of Dr. Diab’s handwriting, and declared a match. When Dr. Diab showed that his (then) wife wrote some of the comparison samples, these analyses were discredited and withdrawn, but they remain part of the dossier that awaits him in France. The French then offered a third handwriting analysis that also contravened accepted methodology according to expert witnesses. It, too, expressed a “strong presumption” that Dr. Diab authored the statement and hotel registry card without explaining how he left someone else’s fingerprints while doing so. On this contrived and highly contested basis, Justice Maranger committed Dr. Diab for extradition but noted that “the prospects of conviction in the context of a fair trial, seem unlikely.”

But will a French trial be fair? French investigating judges are supposed to seek the truth impartially, but in this case, the judge assembled a dossier that suppresses strong exonerating physical evidence and fabricates a case on hearsay and bogus handwriting analyses. Beyond fairness, an even graver concern is whether Dr. Diab will be tried at all in France, or just jailed indefinitely under French anti-terrorism laws. The 2009-2011 extradition hearing presupposed that Dr. Diab is wanted for trial. France now says that it is for questioning only, an inadmissible purpose under Canadian law. Undaunted, the Harper government signed an order of surrender. This situation increasingly approximates an extraordinary rendition: an illegal delivery of an innocent man to a foreign jurisdiction where he will receive mistreatment.

The case against Dr. Diab should be thrown out of court in Canada. It grinds on at great public and private cost because extradition law presumes the reliability of a foreign state’s case, even the mockery that France put before the Canadian extradition judge.

Enough. Our courts must insist that extradition requires real evidence and defend our citizens from the kind of abusive prosecution Dr. Diab faces. France does not extradite its citizens to Canada, so why should we extradite our citizens to them? Why do we allow our extradition laws to favour foreign states so systematically at the expense of our own citizens? Against these absurdly inverted priorities, Dr. Diab’s case asserts that our courts and governments have a duty to protect our rights. We all have a stake in that!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Diab Is Innocent

The following letter was submitted to the Ottawa Citizen in response to a letter questioning Dr. Hassan's Diab's right to challenge his extradition.

Here's a link to the original news article that appeared in the Ottawa Citizen:
Human rights groups sound alarm over Diab extradition evidence

        We are appalled by the innuendos in Ron Grossman’s published letter (July 5, 2013 in the Ottawa Citizen) suggesting that if Hassan Diab were truly innocent, he should have no problems within the French judicial system. Ron Grossman appears unaware of the many irregularities in Hassan Diab’s case on both the Canadian and French side: the flawed evidence based on questionable handwriting analysis that would never stand up in a Canadian court, the highly political nature of the decision about extradition, the likely possibility that Hassan Diab would not have a fair trial in France.

        We are acquainted with Hassan Diab and testify to his decency, integrity, his knowledge. This case is all the more inexcusable as it parallels the infamous Dreyfus case at the turn of the twentieth century – the case of a Jewish man falsely accused of treason, coincidentally based on flawed handwriting analysis, the case that showed the deep roots of anti-Semitism in France. Hassan Diab’s case shows deep roots of racism here – this time it is against Arab and Muslim people. A decision to indeed extradite Hassan Diab is a manifestation of a deep divide in the current Canadian government between law and justice.

Reem Abdul Qadir
Elizabeth Block
James Deutsch
Judith Deutsch
Miriam Garfinkle
Sue Goldstein
James Javanshir
Sheryl Nestel

Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Very Canadian Railroad

Hassan Diab: A Very Canadian Railroad
By Dr. Dawg, July 5, 2013

Hassan Diab is in the news again. He’s a Canadian citizen whom the Conservative Minister of Justice, Rob Nicholson, wants to extradite to France to face—what, exactly?

Widely reported as being a suspect in the bombing of a Paris synagogue over forty years ago, Diab isn’t even facing charges there, as it turns out.

But here in his own country, Diab has faced a massive railroading by the judicial system, including prosecutorial and even judicial bias.

Despite bland assurances to the contrary, the French judicial system isn’t like ours. For example, a key piece of evidence is a handwriting exhibit. A grossly incompetent “expert” in France, whose testimony was produced at the very last minute after the evidence of two others was demolished by the defence, identified the writing as Diab’s. This was refuted during the extradition hearing in 2011 by handwriting experts of international stature. But in France, these experts would not be permitted to be called by the defence as rebuttal witnesses. The examining magistrate, who gets to decide what witnesses will be heard, had already withheld exculpatory evidence from the Record of Case that was sent to Canada for extradition purposes. None of this is exactly reassuring for those of us who value the presumption of innocence, impartial procedures and full disclosure.

Not that a trial, fair or otherwise, is in the cards at the moment. As noted, Diab hasn’t even been charged with anything...

Read the full blog at:

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Fundraising Dinner - April 6, 2013

Join Us For An

Date: Saturday April 6, 2013
Time: 5:00 PM - 8.30 PM
Place: Church of the Ascension, 253 Echo Drive, Ottawa, Ontario  Map

  • Music by Amelia Leclair of the Three Little Birds
  • Great Food!
  • Update from Hassan’s Lawyer
  • Interview with Hassan
  • Auction and Raffle

Buses No. 5 and 16 stop nearby; get off at Main St. and Lees Ave.
Free parking is available at the adjacent parking lot at Immaculata High School.

There is no need to reserve in advance and no charge for the evening, but your donations will be greatly appreciated. If you cannot come to the event and would like to donate, please visit:

For further information, call 613-828-8468.


My life has been turned upside down because of unfounded allegations and suspicions. I am innocent of the accusations against me. I have never engaged in terrorism. I have never participated in any terrorist attacks. I am not an anti-Semite.I have always been opposed to bigotry and violence.
Dr. Hassan Diab speaking at a press conference in Ottawa, Canada

Dr. Hassan Diab, a Canadian Citizen, is at risk of being extradited to France, based on false evidence and antiquated extradition laws. He has not been charged with any offense but has been held in prison or under house arrest since November 2008.

We should all be worried about this injustice!

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Politics of Absurdity: Extradition in the Age of Fear

  • What: Lunchtime event with Dr. Hassan Diab

  • Where: Octopus Books, 251 Bank Street, Ottawa, Canada

  • When: Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Dr. Hassan Diab is a Canadian citizen and sociology professor in Ottawa who has been living a Kafkaesque nightmare since November 2008. France is seeking his extradition to question him regarding a bomb attack near a Paris synagogue in 1980. He has been living under very strict bail conditions that include paying $2,000 per month for a GPS device he is required to wear, even though he is not charged with any crime.

If extradited to France, Hassan will languish in prison, possibly for years, while the French authorities continue a 32 year old investigation of a crime he did not commit. Hassan has repeatedly affirmed that he is willing to answer questions from French authorities here in Canada.

France has not presented any evidence to support the allegations. In fact, the evidence shows Hassan’s innocence. Hassan's finger prints do not match those of the suspect, and the extradition case is based on a handwriting analysis report that has been denounced by internationally renowned experts as deeply flawed.

However, this has not deterred French authorities and not protected Hassan from Canada’s unjust extradition law. Hassan is appealing his extradition in Canadian courts.

Come meet the man and hear his story!

Bring your lunch.

Hassan Diab Support Committee