Sunday, July 27, 2014

We Are All Hassan Diab

Dr. Hassan Diab’s case should be a wake up call for all Canadians. That’s because, under Canada’s extradition law, any of us could be in Hassan’s shoes. In the name of extradition, our Charter rights may be sacrificed in the interest of maintaining chummy diplomatic relations with countries seeking extradition.

Let’s look at Hassan’s case. Hassan’s fingerprints do not match those of the suspect. His palm prints do not match those of the suspect. His physical appearance does not match that of the suspect. His handwriting does not match that of the suspect, as affirmed by world-renowned handwriting experts.

The judge who committed Hassan to extradition described the handwriting analysis against Hassan as “very problematic”, “convoluted”, “very confusing”, and “with conclusions that are suspect”. The judge also wrote:
“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. However, it matters not that I hold this view. The law is clear that in such circumstances a committal order is mandated.”
Since this is an extradition case, the judge did not apply Canadian standards of evidence. This is the state of Canada’s extradition law, and this is the situation under which Hassan faces potential life imprisonment in France under the unfair trial practices that have been documented by Human Rights Watch.

We are all too familiar with cases of wrongful convictions. We remember the wrongful conviction cases in Canada that involved the disgraced pathologist Charles Smith. We are also well aware of the negative impact of false allegations in the cases of Steven Truscott, Donald Marshall, and Maher Arar, to name a few. Hassan’s is clearly a case of wrongful extradition that does not even allow Canadian standards of evidence.

Hassan’s case is also reminiscent of the Dreyfus affair in 19th Century France where Alfred Dreyfus, a French army officer, was sentenced to life in prison based on unsourced intelligence and flawed handwriting analysis. Dreyfus received two trials and was twice wrongly convicted, before he was finally exonerated. Hassan is Canada’s Dreyfus.

In the end, this really has nothing to do with the law, and everything to do with politics and fear. Today it is Hassan. Tomorrow it could be any one of us. We are all Hassan Diab.

Hassan Diab Support Committee

“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 am not an anti-Semite. I have always been opposed to bigotry and violence.”
Dr. Hassan Diab, Ottawa, Canada