Judge orders Hassan Diab released, for the sixth time (may this one take)

25 April, 2017, Ottawa – Yesterday, two French anti-terrorism investigative judges ordered again the release of Dr. Hassan Diab, the Canadian academic who was extradited from Canada to France in November 2014. The French judges found that there is “consistent evidence” that Dr. Diab was in Lebanon at the time of the 1980 Paris bombing. This is the sixth release order for Dr. Diab since last May, and the second release order within three weeks. The French Court of Appeal overturned all previous release orders. The prosecutor is appealing this latest release order.

William Bourdon, Apolline Cagnat and Amélie Lefebvre, Hassan’s lawyers in France, noted that “even though two weeks ago, the Court of Appeal overturned for the fifth time the decision to release Hassan Diab, the investigating judges have refused to renew Hassan’s expiring detention warrant. As the investigation progressed, the elements for charge that were already very weak to begin with have shrunk and are now close to nothing, while the elements for discharging Hassan are multiplying and are extremely convincing. The investigating judges are firm on the fact that it is not possible in a state of law to continue to detain Hassan.”

Don Bayne, Dr. Diab’s Canadian lawyer, stated that “the French investigative judges have repeatedly ordered Dr. Diab’s release because of “consistent evidence” that he was studying for and writing exams in Lebanon and was not even in France at the time of the 1980 bombing – and thus is completely innocent. Dr. Diab’s continued incarceration is wholly and manifestly unjust. It is past time for this government to come to the aid of a Canadian citizen, to end this travesty of justice, to bring him home. ‘Prime Minister Trudeau, Minister Freeland, where are you when an innocent Canadian needs you?’ ”

When Dr. Diab was ordered released by the judge of freedom and detention in May 2016, he spent ten days out on bail in Paris without incident, before his release order was overturned by the same panel of Court of Appeal judges which has repeatedly denied him bail.

Dr. Hassan Diab was extradited from Canada to France in November 2014. The Canadian extradition judge described the evidence against Dr. Diab as “illogical”, “very problematic”, and “convoluted”. However, the Canadian judge stated that the low threshold for evidence under Canada’s extradition law left him no choice but to commit Dr. Diab to extradition.

Roger Clark, the former Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada, remarked that “this travesty of justice continues solely for political reasons, there being no legal basis for Dr. Diab’s continuing imprisonment. Rather than acknowledge that an egregious error has been perpetrated, French authorities insist on maintaining their cruel charade against a background of widespread islamophobia and a fear of appearing weak on terrorism. Canada must immediately convey to the French Government the urgency of preventing further distortion of justice and of ensuring Hassan Diab’s speedy return to his home and family.”

Supporters of Dr. Diab have launched a Parliamentary petition calling upon the Government of Canada to work towards the immediate granting of bail to Hassan and securing his urgent return to his family and home in Canada.

4 thoughts on “Judge orders Hassan Diab released, for the sixth time (may this one take)

  1. Thanks for taking action on this important case! This is an excellent letter and I”d like to adapt it and make copies for people at my church in Kingston to sign. The questions you asked are really good and I like that you are sending copies to the leaders of the other parties too. All Canadians should be alarmed by this case.

  2. Here is a letter written by Frances Deverell:

    The Hon. Chrystia Freeland,
    Minister of Foreign Affairs,
    Government of Canada,
    House of Commons, Ottawa, K1A 0A6

    April 26, 2017

    Dear Minister Freeland,

    It is shocking to me that there could be six release orders from very qualified anti-terrorism investigative judges saying that there is no evidence against someone and every reason to believe they are completely innocent and yet, for political reasons, the French authorities continue to incarcerate Hassan Diab. This is completely unacceptable. I would like to know what you are doing to protect the human rights of this Canadian citizen whom the Canadian Government (under Mr. Harper) has put in this untenable position. Are you making every effort to get this man released from prison and returned home to his family. Clearly only a diplomatic effort will get him released. Please see full press release below.

    · When is the last time he had a visit from someone from the Canadian Embassy?
    · Which French officials have been approached for a solution to this situation and who has taken these initiatives?
    · Has the prime minister or yourself spoken to your political counterparts in France to see what resolution is possible.
    · Are you making every effort to defend the rights of a Canadian Citizen and bring Hassan home?

    I would appreciate a timely answer and a full response to these specific questions.

    Living in hope that truth and justice will prevail,

    Rev. Frances Deverell,
    Retired Unitarian Minister serving in the community.

    cc:
    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
    Leader of the Opposition Rona Ambrose
    Leader of the NDP Thomas Mulcair
    Leader of the Green Party, Elizabeth May
    Leader of the Bloc Quebecois, Rhéal Fortin
    MP for Coquitlam, Ron McKinnon
    MP for Ottawa Vanier, Mona Fortier
    The Hon. Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould

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