CUSJ Supports Coalition for Violence Prevention

PRESS RELEASE. 2021 03 09 Petition Launched to Free Canada from Violence. (Sign the Petition here) A broad group of Canadians is calling on the public to sign a petition to free Canada from violence. They include victim advocates, public health, faith-based communities, social justice, municipalities, and academics. Rev. Frances Deverell led the creation of … Read more

Black Lives Matter

CUSJ Outraged at Brutal Murder of George Floyd. 2020 06 04 For Immediate Release As Canadian Unitarians we are touched profoundly by the events in the U.S., arising out of the murder of George Floyd by police. The massive uprising of anguish and rage that has gripped the U.S. has moved people around the world. … Read more

Segal Report Misses Point

For immediate Release

The Murray Segal Report Misses the Point

The Board of the Canadian Unitarians For Social Justice (CUSJ) call on Prime Minister Trudeau to immediately to establish a full independent public inquiry on the case of Dr. Hassan Diab.  Its purpose would be to examine the Canadian system of extradition and to recommend how the law should be changed to better protect the democratic and human rights of Canadian citizens.

CUSJ is a national faith-based organization of members that works for social justice, democracy, human rights, a healthy environment, and peace.  We have been following the case of Dr. Diab and supporting him and his family since he was arrested in November, 2008. 

The Segal report claims that the Government of Canada is completely exonerated because they followed the law in every detail.  Bill Woolverton, President of CUSJ challenges the conclusion. “This is a whitewash report to protect the government,” he said.  “The unjust and unconscionable treatment of Hassan Diab over the past 11 years cannot be acceptable to Canada as a standard of practice. If this can happen, then there are serious flaws in Canada’s extradition laws. If Canadians are to be protected from unfair arrest and extradition on flimsy evidence, the law must be improved.”

The litany of injustices:

  • Dr. Diab was incarcerated without charge for 160 days in maximum security in Canada. 
  • On bail for over 6 years, he had to pay $2000 a month for his own security anklet. 
  • He was not allowed to see the evidence against him.  Some of that evidence had no known source and could have been obtained by torture.
  • The federal team tried to help the French improve the handwriting evidence, to make the case credible.  Our government was working for the French, not for our Canadian citizen. 
  • Canada extradited Dr. Diab to France in 2014, even though the judge said the evidence was too flimsy to meet Canadian legal standards.  The Supreme Court decision (Ferras: 2006) that directed judges to refuse extradition if the evidence is flimsy was ignored.
  • In France Dr. Diab was held in maximum security with two hours a day to read or exercise.  He was held without charge or trial for 4 years.  There was never enough evidence for charges or a trial.
  • Judicial investigators from France proved that Hassan Diab was not in Paris at the time of the incident.  They recommended at a minimum a release on bail but the French prosecutor refused to release him.
  • A case could be made that both Canada and France took advantage of the societal fear of terrorism to scapegoat Dr. Diab because he was Arab and Muslim. 

Dr. Hassan Diab has conducted himself peacefully and with dignity through all these trials.  He has only ever asked for justice.  He has demonstrated over and over who he is as a human being.  What was done to him, in both Canada and in France, is both unjust and unconscionable.

It is time that we demonstrate who we are as a democratic country that respects human rights.  Canada must take a strong independent look at our extradition law with a view to improving it to better protect Canadians.

For further information contact

Bill Woolverton, president

Devastated by his ordeal, Hassan still fights for justice and change so No Canadian will ever have to face what he has faced.

What if psychoactive drugs were legal in Canada?

This op-ed is part of a series inspired by CUSJ’s resolution to explore ways to reform Canada’s criminal justice system. What if psychoactive drugs were legal in Canada? No need to wonder what would happen–we have only to look to countries like Portugal and New Zealand , which have legalized psychoactive drugs. Here’s the scoop: … Read more

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. … Read more

We could reduce violent crime by 50 percent: Here’s how

CUSJ Past-President Frances Deverell, together with several members of First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa, has been working on the CUC Criminal Justice Monitoring Group mandate. This Group was formed after the May 2016 CUC AGM to address: the over-incarceration of Indigenous peoples; the excessive use of solitary confinement; and greater use of restorative justice in our system. The … Read more

The Shadow knows

In his article on the Hassan Diab case, entitled, No evidence? No problem! Matthew Behrens shows how the entire Hassan Diab case is full of holes, and time and again the judicial system keeps deciding to release him, and then, mysteriously, reversing their decision without explanation. Recounting the history of the case, in which Diab was arrested … Read more

CUSJ Board Motion in Support of Hassan Diab

Editor’s Note: The board passed a resolution at the May 12, 2017 AGM to amend this resolution to request on no uncertain terms that Hassan Diab be released, and that change is reflected herein. CUSJ’s mission is to defend and promote Unitarian principles, such as the inherent worth and dignity of every person, justice and equity in human … Read more

Time to set Mo Harkat Free!

Motion in Support of Mo Harkat passed by the CUSJ Board 2016 01 10 CUSJ‘s mission is to defend and promote Unitarian principles, such as the inherent worth and dignity of every person, justice and equity in human relations, democracy, peace, and liberty for all. These principles call upon us to be a witness for … Read more

Why the Nordic Model is the Right One For Canada!

by Penney Kome In 2014 the Federal Government conducted public discussions and supported a decision to go with some form of Nordic Model for Canada.  It passed legislation making it legal to sell sex, but illegal to buy it with fines and potential jail terms for the Johns.  We have not heard of any money … Read more

Bill C-54 goes to Senate for approval

Criminal Code review board chairs across Canada state that the Conservative government’s Criminal Code change to the Not Criminally Responsible bill is misdirected. Once again, the government did not engage in consultation in proposing the changes, which take a punative, ideologically driven approach to dealing with mentally-ill individuals who commit offences. The bill pits offenders against … Read more

Minister of Public Safety: Don’t bar minority faith chaplains from prisons

CUSJ Letter to The Hon. Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety Dear Hon. Vic Toews; I was very disappointed to learn that you are cutting non-Christian chaplains from the Prison system in Canada. It is my belief that the Chaplaincy service in prisons is extremely important and that spiritual care is an essential service for … Read more

Bill C-10 Senate Letter Writing Campaign

CUSJ has just posted a set of talking points and sample letters to help you in your letter writing campaign.  We have also posted the proposed Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Policy for discussion at the CUC annual meeting.  We hope we have provided all the information congregations will need to discuss these issues and form their own … Read more

CUSJ supports Hassan Diab

Hassan Diab Needs Our Help Now! At its board meeting of January 8th, 2011, CUSJ voted to send a letter of support to the Minister of Justice on behalf of Dr. Hassan Diab. April 6th, Minister Rob Nicholson decided to issue the extradition order.  Mr. Diab is ordered to return to France.  According to the … Read more

Backgrounder from The Spirit Level (Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger)

By Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett Bloomsbury Press, New York, Berlin, London ©2009  This post is a backgrounder by Frances Deverell Chapter 10 – Violence: Gaining Respect P132 tells us that the majority of violence is committed by males, and mainly between the ages of 15-29. After that it declines sharply. It also shows that in England … Read more