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Amnesty International Canada disappointed by delayed French Court of Appeal decision for Hassan Diab

    October 26, 2018

    Amnesty International Canada is renewing calls for a public inquiry into the extradition and imprisonment of academic Hassan Diab, after learning the French Court of Appeal has ordered a fresh review of his case.

    In response, Secretary General Alex Neve issued the following statement:

    “As has been the case for more than a decade, Hassan Diab and his family are not yet able to put these years of Kafkaesque injustice firmly in the past. Today’s news comes as deep frustration and disappointment.

    “The handwriting samples and analysis in this case have consistently been rejected by experts in both Canada and France. Yet French authorities continue to hold onto hope that they can keep this case alive by resurrecting evidence that has been roundly discredited as worthless.

    “In doing so, they continue to keep Hassan Diab and his family in a suspended state of uncertainty and anguish.

    "So while this case is protracted and extended yet one more time in France, it is vital that efforts to get to the bottom of Canada’s role in why and how this happened need to expand and deepen.

    "The current review initiated by Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould and being conducted by former Ontario Deputy Attorney General Murray Segal, will not be enough.

    “It truly is time to go beyond the limited terms of that review. What is needed is a public inquiry with full posers to examine all actions and decisions of Canadian officials in relation to Hassan Diab’s extradition from Canada; and also with explicit instructions to consider the Extradition Act itself and reforms needed to guard against an injustice of this nature ever occurring again.”

    Background:

    In November 2014, Hassan Diab was extradited from Canada to France to face criminal charges in connection with a 1980 bombing outside of a synagogue in Paris. Mr. Diab consistently professed his innocence and on eight occasions French investigative judges ordered his release on bail, citing evidence that Mr. Diab was in Beirut during the Paris bombing and that there was a lack of reasonable prospects for finding any evidence of his guilt. Each time, the Court of Appeal quashed the release orders after appeals by the prosecutor.

    When Mr. Diab’s extradition was ordered by Ontario Superior Court in 2011, the presiding judge expressed significant reservations about the reliability of the evidence and the prospects for his conviction but concluded that Canadian legislation gave him no choice but to authorize the extradition. Amnesty International intervened in Mr. Diab’s appeal of the extradition decision to the Ontario Court of Appeal and made arguments that steps must be taken to ensure, that no torture-tainted evidence was relied upon in the case for his extradition.

    In June 2017 Amnesty International wrote to French and Canadian officials raising questions and concerns about his lengthy pre-trial detention in France, which is in contravention of obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights and other international human rights instruments. Amnesty International Canada had specifically called on the Canadian government to press French authorities to agree to Mr. Diab’s conditional release on bail.  The Canadian government’s efforts on his behalf were welcome and much appreciated. Mr. Diab was released in January 2018.

    If you would like more information or to arrange an interview, contact:

    Lucy Scholey, Amnesty International Canada (English):  +1 613-744-7667 ext. 236; lscholey@amnesty.ca