Amnesty International Reacts to Release of Report into the Extradition of Dr. Hassan Diab
OTTAWA (29 July 2019) - Reacting to the release on 26 July 2019 of the report of the External Review of the Extradition of Hassan Diab from Canada to France, Justin Mohammed, Amnesty International Canada’s Human Rights Law and Policy Campaigner made the following statement:
“On behalf of Amnesty International, I would like to express our sincere disappointment with this latest outcome in Hassan Diab’s long and arduous journey in seeking answers and justice for the human rights abuses that he has faced. Unfortunately, the report of former Ontario Deputy Attorney General Murray Segal does not provide meaningful answers to the key questions that would allow Canada to ensure that such a travesty of justice is never reproduced.
Mr. Segal’s review determined that the government lawyers who handled Dr. Diab’s case fully complied with the applicable law, practices and procedures. That conclusion – that following Canadian laws, practices and procedures led readily and inevitably to serious human rights violations – should deeply worry all Canadians. It demonstrates that the chosen External Review was the wrong process, tasked with the wrong terms of reference. It is important to note that the concluding recommendations of Mr. Segal are not focussed on ensuring that human rights abuses are avoided in the future. Instead, they envision minor adjustments which could streamline the extradition process. They do not provide meaningful insight into the legal and policy reform agenda that would ensure that Canada does not violate the human rights of its citizens and others in accordance with an extradition request in the future. Despite the ten-month long External Review, this key question remains completely unanswered.
Due to the limited nature of Mr. Segal’s mandate, there are many questions about Dr. Diab’s extradition and subsequent treatment in France that remain unaddressed. Key information from Global Affairs Canada about the provision of consular services was not available to Mr. Segal due to privacy concerns, and Mr. Segal was not tasked with examining how this case was handled from a consular perspective. The limited comments of Mr. Segal with respect to Dr. Diab’s access to consular assistance are nevertheless worrying. The Canadian government’s frequent assertions that: 1) the French legal system was reliable, 2) Canadian intervention with respect to proceedings in France would be improper, and 3) that it is not the role of Canadian officials to monitor the fairness of a trial against a Canadian citizen in a foreign jurisdiction, must be fully assessed. As a result, Amnesty International continues to call for a full and public inquiry into these events, with a broad mandate and full judicial powers, so that the relevant lessons can be learned with the benefit of a full record.
Amnesty International deeply regrets that the Segal Report leaves Dr. Diab, his family, and all Canadians with no clearer understanding as to how and why it was possible for a Canadian citizen, who mounted a full and robust defence throughout lengthy extradition proceedings, to be surrendered to France on the basis of weak and unreliable evidence, and then to languish in detention in France, almost entirely in solitary confinement, without charge or trial for more than three years.
Mr. Segal’s report cannot be considered the final word with respect to Dr. Diab’s extradition. We further regret that the lengthy two-month delay and release of this report at the end of July, means that serious human rights issues related to what is – and what is not – included in the report are unlikely to receive the degree of parliamentary and public scrutiny required because of the summer break and upcoming federal election. Nevertheless, we remain hopeful that this report will serve as a call for the Government of Canada to recognize that our extradition law, policy, and relations with extradition partners is in desperate need of review and reform.”
For further information, please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-904-7158