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