Above: Feb. 2016 rally to show support for Hassan Diab. Photo: Matthew Behrens.
Canadian Unitarians are deeply concerned about Canada’s ongoing impassivity as a Canadian citizen languishes in Fleury-Merogis prison (near Paris) in “pretrial detention” since 2014. In 2008, Dr. Diab, a professor at University of Ottawa and Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, was summarily arrested for allegedly bombing a Paris synagogue in 1980, based on evidence that has since been judged (by actual judges) to be ‘weak’ and ‘problematic’. He was released, and in November 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear Hassan’s appeal and he was extradited to France (even though, according to Judge Robert Maranger who allowed the extradiction), Diab is unlikely to have been convicted in Canada.
CUSJ President Margaret Rao wrote to the Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould in June 2016, asking that Wilson-Raybould take diplomatic steps to have Diab returned to Canada. Rao also wrote to Prime Minister Trudeau. Neither Minister Wilson-Raybould nor the Prime Minister has replied to Rao’s letter.
A victim of judicial ping-pong
On two occasions, judges in France have ordered Dr. Diab released on bail, citing insufficient evidence, in May 2016 and again in October 27 2016–but each time the release order was overturned by the panel of Court of Appeal judges.
The next French court hearing is expected between mid-March and mid-April 2017.
In the meantime, CUSJ activists are working on an Parliamentary e-petition, asking the Canadian government to work with the French Government to get Hassan back to Canada. CUSJ is hopeful that a diplomatic intervention might be the solution to this tiresome judicial ping-pong match, in which each subsequent judge overturns the previous one’s sentence.
What you can do
If you would like to meet your MP about the Diab case, contact CUSJ activist Ria Heynen for support materials.
To read newspaper articles about the case:
Link to short video:
Hassan Diab campaign page: http://www.justiceforhassandiab.org/bring-hassan-home#List