21 September 2017, Ottawa – On July 28, 2017, the French investigative judge issued a notice about the end of investigations in Dr. Hassan Diab’s case, the Canadian citizen and sociology professor who was extradited to France in November 2014. However, the decision has been delayed as the prosecutor is yet to submit written arguments.
Mr. Don Bayne, Dr. Diab’s Canadian lawyer remarked, “According to French law, both Dr. Diab’s French lawyers and the French prosecutor have one month after the investigating judge announces the closure of the investigation to file their respective written submissions. The defence complied. The prosecutor did not. There is apparently no sanction for the prosecutor who can delay the judge’s decision whether to free Dr. Diab or subject him to a trial on secret intelligence that in Canada and most of the Western world is both unfair and unconstitutional. This is yet another manifestation of the mounting injustices that have plagued this case and victimized Dr. Diab – who is this century’s Dreyfus – for the past 8 years. Surely the great republic of France will put an end to injustice, will listen to the investigating judge who has stated that there is consistent and corroborated evidence of Dr. Diab’s innocence”.
Dr. Diab’s French lawyers, William Bourdon, Apolline Cagnat and Amelie Lefebvre, noted that “though there is no legal sanction to the non-observance of the delays that apply once the investigations are finished, we are obviously very disappointed that the prosecutor does not comply with them in this case where a man has consistently proclaimed his innocence and consistent evidence of Hassan Diab’s innocence was collected during the investigations. Hassan remains in prison where he has now spent almost 3 years despite repetitive release orders constantly overturned by the Court of Appeal.”
Today, MP Don Davies will present a Parliamentary petition that urges the Canadian government to intervene to bring Dr. Hassan Diab home. The petition was signed by thousands of Canadians and Permanent Residents.
In addition to the petition, an open letter signed by hundreds of Diab’s supporters was sent to Prime Minister Trudeau, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould urging them to intervene to put an end to Dr. Diab’s Kafkaesque situation.
Alex Neve, the Secretary General of Amnesty International, stated that “this further delay, attributable to the French prosecutor, is one more unconscionable injustice. At a minimum Mr. Diab must be released on bail while the case proceeds; and the Canadian government must – at senior levels – insist that it happens without any further delay.”
Dr. Diab was extradited from Canada to France in November 2014 in connection with a 1980 bombing outside a synagogue in Paris. He has been held in pre-trial detention in France since then. French investigating judges have issued six judicial orders that Dr. Diab be released on bail, stating that there is “consistent evidence” that Dr. Diab was not in France at the time of the 1980 Paris attack. However, each time the prosecutor appealed and the French Court of Appeal quashed the release orders because of the political climate in France. The Canadian extradition judge found that the evidence presented by French authorities is “suspect” and “very problematic”, yet he stated that he felt compelled under Canada’s extradition law to order Dr. Diab’s extradition. Dr. Diab has been imprisoned or under very strict bail conditions for almost nine years.
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