CUSJ Board passes motion in support of Dr. Hassan Diab

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 freedom for all. These principles call upon us to be a witness for justice on behalf of those who have not had access to fair treatment by the law in Canada.

Given That:
  • Hassan Diab was born in Lebanon. He studied sociology in Beirut, received a PhD from Syracuse University, New York, and moved to Canada where he became a Canadian citizen in 1993. He taught Sociology at Carleton University and the Univeristy of Ottawa prior to his arrest. He holds dual citizenship.
  • Dr. Diab was arrested in 2008 by the RCMP after being accused by France of involvement in a 1980 bombing in Paris that killed 4 people and injured dozens. France requested his extradition from Canada based on intelligence France received in 1999. Literally no one knows its reliability. France does not extradite its citizens.
  • Hassan steadfastly maintains his innocence. He claims this is a case of mistaken identity and that he was not in Paris in 1980.
  • Diab was held in prison until he was able to negotiate bail with strict conditions including curfews, confinement to the Hull-Ottawa area, and having to pay for his own security ankle bracelet at a cost of about $2000 month. He endured constant unscheduled visits to his private living quarters by the RCMP. He was never charged and was detained under similar conditions to those detained under security certificates.
  • The evidence that France submitted has been thoroughly examined and discredited in several Courts in Canada. The intelligence information offered was found to be unreliable. The Crown Attorneys (representing France) withdrew the intelligence information from the case against Hassan. They also withdrew two handwriting analysis reports after the defence showed that documents being used for comparison were not written by Hassan but by his ex-wife. In spite of this embarrassment, the French submitted a new handwriting report making the same claims. Five world-renowned handwriting experts testified that this report is fatally flawed, and that an objective analysis would point to Hassan’s innocence.
  • Canadian Justice Robert Maranger found the French handwriting analysis report against Hassan “very problematic,” “convoluted,” “confusing,” and “with conclusions that are suspect.” The judge dismissed virtually all of the other evidence as insufficient to meet the very low threshold for extradition. However, he declined to exclude the discredited handwriting analysis report despite his numerous misgivings about it. He added that “the prospects of conviction in the context of a fair trial, seem unlikely” but that Canada’s extradition law left him no choice.
  • The Court of Appeal for Ontario refused to overturn Justice Maranger’s ruling. In a decision that surprised many Canadian extradition experts, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear Hassan’s appeal in November 2014, despite it’s pointing to conflicts between BC and Ontario Court interpretations of the Extradictions Act. He was extradited to France the next day without being allowed to say goodbye to his family a day before his daughter’s birthday.
  • Hassan has been in pretrial detention in a prison outside Paris for over 426 days as of this posting. He could wait several years more before the investigating magistrate decides whether to bring him to trial. His applications for bail with house arrest and electronic monitoring have been repeatedly denied. He spends 20 hours of 24 in his cell and has 4 hours a day when he can either exercise or study.
  • This makes seven years Dr. Diab has been held in detention or on repressive and expensive bail conditions in either Canada or France without charge or trial.
  • Canadian law assumes that Canada has extradition agreements with countries that have fair justice systems. However, France was criticized in a well documented 2008 Human Rights Watch report for accepting unsourced intelligence and for running unfair trials.
  • In Hassan’s case, the intelligence and handwriting reports that the French withdrew in Canada remain in the dossier in France and have been used to deny Hassan bail. If a trial is held, Hassan would not be able to challenge the unsourced intelligence or cross-examine his accusers because no one knows who they are. Hassan Diab was never actually charged with anything prior to his extradition, although Canadian extradition law only allows extradition to face charge. He has been in detention or out on bail without charge for seven years. According to current Canadian law his detention should be illegal, and is certainly not in the spirit of Canadian values.
Hassan Diab has not had the due process of law that should be the right of any Canadian citizen.
The Resolution:
Be it resolved that the board of the Canadian Unitarians For Social Justice (CUSJ) supports the right of every person living in Canada, whether legally or illegally, to know the nature of charges and evidence against them, to have a right to review the evidence against them and to have a right to a fair trial according to the standards of the Canadian legal system, including the right to cross examine witnesses as to the validity of their evidence in a Canadian court of law.
Be it resolved that the CUSJ Board call on the Canadian Ambassador to France to visit Dr. Diab regularly and ensure he receives fair treatment while incarcerated in France;
Further be it resolved that the CUSJ Board call on the Government of Canada to request the Government of France to stop delaying and either charge Dr. Diab and give him a fair trial, based on reliable, untainted evidence; (the faulty handwriting analyses should be discarded, as they were in Canada, as well as the unsourced intelligence against him); or release him and send him back home to Canada based on a lack of evidence against him.