In an Open Letter to Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, Amnesty International and the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) are calling on the federal government to launch a thorough and independent inquiry into Hassan Diab’s extradition to France, including the conduct of Canadian officials during extradition hearings.
The appeal comes in the wake of CBC reports revealing a previously undisclosed Department of Justice memo indicating that Canadian officials played an active role in assisting the French government even as the evidence in the case had been discredited and the basis for the extradition shown to be unsubstantiated. The reports also indicate that Canadian government lawyers may have misled the court as to the government’s understanding of why French officials had sought a lengthy adjournment in Hassan Diab’s extradition hearing and also failed to disclose to his legal team that none of the possibly incriminating fingerprints in the case matched Dr. Diab’s. Hassan Diab spent 38 months in detention after being extradited to France. He was never charged and never brought to trial.
“New information reported in the media raises very serious concern not only about Canada’s extradition system, but also about the role and conduct of Canadian officials,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. “Given the revelations that Canadian government lawyers may be directly implicated in the serious shortcomings, failures and possible wrongdoing that led to Hassan Diab’s extradition, it is clearly not appropriate for this to go forward as an internal review. What is needed is a thorough and independent inquiry to address the flaws in our extradition system which created the conditions for Hassan Diab’s extradition, and to probe the conduct of Canadian officials involved in the handling of his case.”
In the Open Letter, Amnesty International and the BCCLA urge the government to appoint an independent commissioner to conduct a thorough inquiry into Dr. Diab’s case. Among the issues the inquiry should consider are:
The actions of Canadian government lawyers throughout the extradition process, including the appropriateness of the assistance provided to the French government, the truthfulness of statements about the progress of the case that were made in Court and the reasons for decisions not to share exculpatory evidence with Dr. Diab’s legal team.
Possible reforms to the Extradition Act to address any statutory limitations or weaknesses that allowed this extradition to go ahead on an evidentiary basis that the presiding judge himself described as highly problematic.
Whether Canadian officials acted quickly enough and with sufficient diligence as concerns emerged about Dr. Diab’s lengthy period of detention without charge in France.
Appropriate redress to Dr. Diab and his family, including an official apology and appropriate compensation, for actions or inaction of Canadian officials that may have contributed to the human rights violations and miscarriage of justice he experienced.
Jacob Kuehn, Media Relations, Amnesty International Canada. firstname.lastname@example.org/ 613744-7667 x 236.