Monday, November 23, 2015

Help Stop A Wrongful Conviction and Tell Hassan Diab’s Story!


Imagine you are arrested in Canada, detained, and extradited to France even though your physical description, finger and palm prints, and handwriting do not match the suspect in a decades-old bombing in Paris. That is the nightmare being lived by Dr. Hassan Diab, a Canadian citizen from Ottawa, and his family.

For the past year, Dr. Diab has been detained in the largest prison in Europe and still has not been charged. Under French law, he can be kept significantly longer as the case is investigated. In many ways, this case is a set-up for wrongful conviction based on allegations (not facts) that Canadian judges admitted would never stand up in a Canadian court of law.

As Gerald Caplan writes in The Globe and Mail, in France, Hassan is being subjected to an unjust legal process that is using discredited evidence and unsourced secret intelligence against him.

I have the pleasure of knowing Dr. Diab and his family, and believe him to be both the victim of mistaken identity as well as racial profiling in the so-called war on terror.

While friends and family continue to fight for his freedom, a new film is being made on his case by the award-winning filmmaker behind The Secret Trial Five, Amar Wala.The goal is to raise $15,000 by December 20, and the campaign is already halfway there.

Please donate to the film's crowdfunding campaign and share the page with your friends and networks:

During the debates and protests around C-51, one of the most valuable resources available to Canadians was the cross-country screening tour of The Secret Trial Five, which clearly showed the human impact of such state security measures. Amar Wala has the talent, expertise, and tenacity to produce a similar film that will not only help expose the injustice of Hassan Diab's situation, but also wake up Canadians to the dangers that are continually posed by C-51 and the state security agencies who use such legislation to harass, intimidate, and repress targeted communities at home and abroad.

Please donate whatever you can and help end this injustice and reunite this family.


Matthew Behrens
Homes not Bombs

Matthew Behrens is a freelance writer and social justice advocate who coordinates the Homes not Bombs non-violent direct action network.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Documentary Crowdfunding Campaign Launched!

Dear all,

Hassan Diab is a Canadian citizen who is at serious risk of wrongful conviction for a crime he did not commit. As Gerald Caplan writes in The Globe and Mail, in France, Hassan is being subjected to an unjust legal process that is using discredited evidence and unsourced intelligence against him.

The Hassan Diab Support Committee is working on publicizing Hassan’s case nationally and internationally by producing a documentary about the case for online sharing and public showings.This documentary will help us spread the word and bring justice and freedom for an innocent man.

Please donate to our crowdfunding campaign and share the page with your friends and networks:

Our goal is to raise CAD $15,000 by December 20, 2015, to fund the documentary. Any donation, no matter how small, will help achieve our goal.

We encourage you to donate early in the campaign, since a strong start is the biggest predictor of a successful campaign. Any donations in excess of $15,000 will go towards Hassan’s legal defence.

Thank you.

Hassan Diab Support Committee

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Help Us Tell Hassan's Story - Support Our Crowdfunding Campaign

Dear all,

It has been one year since Hassan was extradited to France based on discredited “evidence” that the Canadian judge himself described as “very problematic” and “suspect”. Hassan is still under investigation in France. He sits alone in a jail cell thousands of miles away from his family, friends and home. Hassan’s applications for bail with house arrest and electronic monitoring have been repeatedly denied. The unsourced intelligence and the discredited handwriting analysis reports that France withdrew from the Canadian proceeding because of their unreliability are now being used against Hassan in France.

We are working on publicizing Hassan’s case nationally and internationally by producing a good quality documentary about the case for online sharing and public showings. We will be launching a crowdfunding campaign on November 12, 2015, to fundraise for this documentary.

Please consider making a donation – no matter how small - to the crowdfunding campaign. We also ask that you write to your friends and family about the campaign and share the link to the campaign with them (we will send the link in the next couple of days). We aim to raise $15,000 to cover the expenses of making the documentary. Donations in excess of this amount will go to cover Hassan’s legal defense fees.

Thank you for your continued support!

Hassan Diab Support Committee

Monday, May 25, 2015

Civil Society Must Prevent Hassan Diab's Wrongful Conviction

It is incumbent on civil society, both in Europe and North America, to continue to pressure our governments to demand the immediate release of Diab, who has been the victim of faulty evidence, and could become the victim of a wrongful conviction - unless we intervene in time.

France must drop this case against Diab and continue pursuing the actual perpetrators of this horrific crime, so that the victims can receive their overdue justice. Canada must demand the return home of a citizen, father, husband, teacher and friend, who is awaiting justice after what he describes as a ‘Kafkaesque nightmare’.

Read the full article:

Civil society must prevent Hassan Diab's wrongful conviction, By Tyler Levitan, Al-Arab Al-Jadeed, 22 May, 2015

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Extradition or Rendition?

The French Embassy in Ottawa, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, and the manager of the synagogue on Rue Copernic have implied that the upholding of the extradition order against Dr. Hassan Diab does not assume his culpability and that Diab will be able to defend himself before France’s judicial system, which they say is as impartial as Canada’s.

If the French judicial system is impartial and just, and Dr. Diab is presumed innocent until proven guilty:
  • Why did they whisk him off within 20 hours on the eve of his daughter's second birthday without the decency of letting him say goodbye to her and his expecting wife?
  • Why did a Canadian judge say in a Canadian court that the evidence against him was convoluted, weak, very confusing and with conclusions that are suspect and likely wouldn't stand up in a Canadian court?
  • Why does Human Rights Watch note that in France “decisions to arrest suspects and place them under formal investigation are based on a low standard of proof”, and lawyers complain “that the way in which judicial investigations in terrorism cases are conducted seriously undermines the right of each defendant to an effective defense”? Human Rights Watch also notes that “the prominent use of intelligence material in judicial investigations, in the context of the close links between judges and the intelligence services, raises concerns about procedural fairness and reliance on evidence obtained from third countries where torture and ill-treatment are routine”.
  • Why did the Canadian Department of Justice, acting on behalf of France, withdraw French intelligence evidence because it came from sources even the French couldn't identify and couldn't provide assurances it wasn't produced under torture, an unacceptable risk noted by Amnesty International in its formal intervention in Dr. Diab's extradition hearing?
  • How is it that the French judicial system can jail someone who is said to be “innocent until proven guilty” for up to 2 or more years (mis en examen) before deciding if they'll even hold a trial? Other jurisdictions do not permit such lengthy delays which effectively violate habeas corpus norms.
  • Why couldn't Dr. Diab's lawyers present RCMP finger and palm print evidence that proves French prints are not those of Dr. Diab?
  • Why did the French conclude that the handwriting of someone else, not Dr. Diab, was the same as that of the bomber's 5 block printed words on a hotel registration card, withdraw that “evidence” when this incompetence was identified, and submit a new handwriting analysis that was judged fundamentally flawed by at least three international handwriting experts?
  • How was a “robot” sketch of a 40-ish moustached bomber confused with the 26 year old (at the time) Dr. Diab?
  • Why did Canadian authorities and judges allow an extradition, which under Canadian law can only be to face charges, when Dr. Diab had not yet been charged?

That doesn't sound impartial or just or fair to me. Bob Thomson Ottawa

Saturday, November 15, 2014

“Their own government has sold them down the river”

British Columbia lawyer and author Garry Botting, one of Canada’s foremost authorities on extradition, commented on Hassan's extradition case:

“There has rarely been a case that is so clearly unfair,” he said. “We are constantly bending over backwards to accommodate whatever international request is made. It’s not a question of ‘will we?’ but how high would you like us to jump to accommodate you.”

Diab’s case was the first solid opportunity since Ferras in 2006 to “really make a difference and bring common sense and fairness to bear in extradition cases. Right now it is not fair, not just and has precious little common sense.”

“Canadians get the short end of the stick every time,” he added. “Their own government has sold them down the river.”

“If the person signing in was the bomber he is going to be nervous. His handwriting won’t be reflected properly and likely he’s trying to disguise it. How can you give any credence to anything that’s one sentence long and hang a guy with it?”

Read the full Ottawa Citizen article, dated November 14, 2014:
Canada's extradition law: A legal conundrum

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Letter Regarding Extradition Law and the Case of Hassan Diab

Dear all,

As you may be aware, the Supreme Court of Canada will issue its decision regarding whether or not to hear the appeal in Hassan Diab's case this Thursday, November 13th.

If leave is granted, the case would be heard by the Supreme Court sometime in 2015. If leave is not granted, the government would remove Hassan from Canada to France where he would possibly spend years in pretrial detention before facing trial based on a handwriting analysis report that was discredited and condemned by five world-renowned handwriting experts.

The following letter was drafted by professors at Carleton University. We are collecting signatures on the letter and plan to submit it as an Op-Ed to a newspaper in the next couple of days. We also plan to send the letter (and list of signatures) to the Canadian Minister of Justice and Members of Parliament.

Letter Regarding Extradition Law and the Case of Hassan Diab

Please consider signing the above letter by Wednesday, November 12th at the latest and help us circulate it among others you know. You can enter your name and affiliation directly at the bottom of the above page.

Here are links to factums that were filed by Hassan's lawyers regarding the leave to appeal application.

Best regards,

Hassan Diab Support Committee

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

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Will There Be Justice For This Canadian Citizen Living a Nightmare?

By Larry Rousseau, Regional Executive Vice President, Public Service Alliance of Canada
Huffington Post, May 14, 2014

“Let's do a thought experiment.

Imagine that a foreign government suspects you of committing a horrible crime thirty years ago based on unsourced intelligence which could have been derived from torture.

Then imagine that your government decides to hand you over to this foreign government despite the fact that your fingerprints, palm prints, and physical description do not match those of the suspect.

And now imagine that the 'smoking gun' of the case is a handwriting analysis of five words on a hotel registration card that has been discredited by some of the world's top handwriting analysis experts.

And imagine that you learn, years after this process begins, that the foreign government actually hasn't yet charged you with a crime, but wants you under its detention in order to pursue a case against you later.

Tragically, this is not a hypothetical scenario but is the living nightmare of a Canadian citizen, Dr. Hassan Diab, a former sociology professor at Carleton University in Ottawa...”

Read the full article at:

Friday, April 25, 2014

Update on Hassan’s Case and Callout for Support

Dear Friends and Supporters,

As you know, Dr. Hassan Diab and his family are waiting for a decision from the Court of Appeal for Ontario regarding his request to have his extradition overturned. The Court heard Hassan's appeal in November of last year. A decision from the Court of Appeal could come at any time. We know you share our hope for a positive outcome.

Regardless of the outcome, we are planning a post-decision press conference and rally in Ottawa. We urge supporters, especially those in the Ottawa area, to come out to show your support. Please stay tuned for further updates. We will share more information as soon as we know when the decision is coming.

Hassan and his family are extremely grateful for your continued support in our struggle against an unfair extradition law and legal proceedings based on totally flawed “evidence”. It is a shame and injustice that a Canadian may be forcibly sent to another country and deprived of his liberty based on evidence that would not be admissible in Canadian courts.

Five internationally-recognized handwriting experts testified that the French handwriting analysis report used against Hassan is wholly unreliable and does not follow recognized methodology. The Canadian extradition judge described the report as “very problematic”, “convoluted”, “very confusing”, and “with conclusions that are suspect”. However, the judge held that, since this is an extradition hearing, he cannot apply Canadian standards of evidence to exclude this report.

Hassan has steadfastly declared his innocence. His fingerprints and palm prints do not match those of the presumed bomber. He has repeatedly affirmed that he is willing to answer questions from French authorities in Canada and take a lie detector test, but there has been no response to either offer.

It is essential that we show our support again when the Court of Appeal decision comes out. Let's reaffirm our opposition to unjust extradition proceedings and our support for fundamental rights and freedoms!

Thank you.

Hassan Diab Support Committee

Friday, April 11, 2014

An Evening with Hassan before the Appeal Decision

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Waiting for the response from the Court of Appeal for Ontario regarding Hassan Diab's extradition order is difficult for Hassan and his family.

They need our support to keep up their spirits!

Therefore the Hassan Diab Support Committee is organizing a social evening and fundraiser for them and invites you all to be part of it.
  • Date: Friday April 11, 2014
  • Time: 6:00 PM
  • Place: First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa, 30 Cleary Avenue, Ottawa (off Richmond Road, one traffic light East of Woodroffe Avenue)
  • Transportation: Bus # 2 stops at Cleary; Bus # 87 stops at Woodroffe Avenue and Richmond Road.
    Ample parking is available.
Hassan will prepare a FREE delicious dinner, including vegetarian options, desserts, and refreshments.

Beautiful live music and songs by Arif Jinha and Gilbert Troutet.

There will be a silent auction and prizes.

Why a Fundraiser:
Hassan’s appeal has been expensive and the lawyers’ fees are mounting. In addition, Hassan has to pay about $2,000 per month for the GPS monitoring device he is required to wear, in order to be able to stay out of prison.

Hassan has shown enormous courage and grace in the face of unjust extradition proceedings. Please join us in supporting him on April 11!

For More Information: Contact:
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

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!