Stop playing games with this man’s life: Press Conference for Hassan Diab

On June 21, 2017, the group Justice for Hassan Diab held a press conference in Ottawa to appeal to the Canadian government to free political prisoner Hassan Diab, in jail without fair trial since 2014. A recap of the story:

In 1980, a synagogue in Paris was bombed. Initial news articles blamed right-wing neo-nazis (implicated in a number of similar attacks around that time), then “someone Lebanese”, then “an unidentified Muslim”. Fast forward to 2014: Diab, a professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, is arrested and extradited to France to stand trial as the accused mastermind of this bombing.

Diab is still waiting for formal trial, three years later.

Today, one after the other, activists stood up to say, ‘Enough!’ Alex Neve of Amnesty International; Chantal Vallerand of Canadian Association of University Teachers; Don Bayne, Diab’s lawyer; and Diab’s wife were among the speakers.

Neve and Bayne pointed to all the holes in the evidence:

  • The suspect was described as age 45 (Diab was 26 in 1980);
  • Diab does not match the physical description of the suspect;
  • Palmprints do not match those of the suspect;
  • Fingerprints do not match those of the suspect;
  • Diab was in Lebanon writing exams, at the time of the bombing, and there are witnesses (and his exam results) to prove it;
  • Diab lost his passport and there is evidence that it was used fraudulently;
  • Ah, and lets not forget the secret intelligence, evidence which is not even admissable as evidence.

Overall, it is a shamefully weak case.

Their request: Bring Hassan Diab back to Canada to stand FAIR trial. He is no threat to public order. A judge can order an end to this–there is no new evidence–the six appeals thus far (one for each time an investigative judge ordered Diab released)–were spurious and politically motivated. Diab is being scapegoated… Bayne expressed the fear that unless Diab is returned to Canada, he will continue to be subject to arbitrary political punishment.

Neve suggested that, rather than putting an end to a travesty that was begun under Harper’s watch, Trudeau is playing “passive little brother to France”.

One thing is sure: This will not go away, unless the Canadian government steps up to the plate and does what a government is supposed to do: Return this Canadian citizen to Canada. Understand that it is not Canada’s place to offer up its citizens as sacrificial lambs for France’s political problems.

To sign the petition, click here.

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