Amnesty International was represented in this case by Lorne Waldman.
WHAT IS THIS CASE ABOUT?
Mr. Hassan Diab is a Canadian citizen of Lebanese origin who was subjected to extradition proceedings by the Republic of France in connection with his alleged role in the 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue in which four people were killed and scores injured. The decision to surrender Mr. Diab to France was challenged by his counsel on a number of grounds, including the risk that Mr. Diab would be denied the right to fundamental justice because France was allegedly relying on anonymous, unsourced, and uncircumstanced evidence that may have been obtained by torture to support its case.
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL’S INTERVENTION
Amnesty International intervened in this case before the Court of Appeal for Ontario. We did not take a position on Mr. Diab’s guilt or innocence, nor on whether his extradition should take place, nor on whether France would in fact use torture-tainted evidence in his case.
Amnesty International’s intervention was limited strictly to the question of the legal test that should be applied to extradition decisions. We argued that extraditions should take place in accordance with international human rights norms binding on Canada, particularly the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Accordingly Amnesty International argued that when there is a real risk that evidence derived from torture will be used in a trial following extradition, the extradition should not take place.
STATUS OF THE CASE
The Court of Appeal for Ontario agreed with Amnesty International’s submissions that if there is a real risk that evidence derived from torture will be used against an accused in foreign proceedings, extradition should generally be refused. However, the Court of Appeal was satisfied that the Minister had sought reasonable assurances from France that the evidence against Mr. Diab met the appropriate standards. Consequently, the court found that the order to extradite Mr. Diab to France was reasonable.
Mr. Diab has been detained since November 2014, when he was extradited from Canada to France. On 24 April 2017, French investigative judges ordered Mr. Diab’s release on bail for the sixth time, citing evidence that indicated that Mr. Diab was in Beirut during the Paris bombing and the lack of reasonable prospects for finding inculpatory evidence. Each time that Mr. Diab has been ordered released, the Court of Appeal quashed the release orders after appeals by the prosecutor. On 15 June 2017, Amnesty International urged the Canadian Government to press French authorities to release Mr. Diab on bail.
Amnesty International’s Application for Leave to Intervene in the Diab case: Memorandum of Fact and Law of the Proposed Intervener, Amnesty International
Amnesty International’s legal briefing to the Court of Appeal for Ontario in the Diab case: Memorandum of Fact and Law of the Intervener, Amnesty International
“Canada/France: Hassan Diab held without charge” (21 June 2017)
“Canada – Amnesty International and the Hassan Diab case appeal” (3 October 2013)