Falsely Accused Terrorism Suspect Released After 10-Year Ordeal
Dr. Hassan Diab is a Canadian sociology professor. His academic career was interrupted about a decade ago when he was falsely accused of an attack near a synagogue in Paris, France in 1980. In 2008, France requested Dr. Diab’s extradition from Canada. Canadian authorities then imprisoned him, subject to Draconian bale conditions, for six years.
Dr. Diab was extradited to France in 2014. His extradition occurred at the hands of a Canadian judge, Robert Maranger, who described the evidence against Dr. Diab as “illogical,” “very problematic,” and “convoluted and confusing with conclusions that are suspect.” The judge concluded that the prospects for conviction seemed unlikely, but that his hands were tied by Canada’s extradition law. He therefore committed Dr. Diab to extradition.
Under Canada’s extradition law, Canada’s Justice Minister nonetheless had discretion not to surrender Dr. Diab to French authorities. That minister was conservative Rob Nicholson. Upon reading Justice Maranger’s concerns, Nicholson could have chosen not to extradite Dr. Diab, but did so anyways.
After being extradited to France, Dr. Diab spent three years and two months in France’s largest prison. He was ordered released on bail eight times by four different French judges. However, each time, the prosecutor blocked his release. On January 12, 2018, only days ago, two French anti-terrorism judges cleared him and ordered his immediate and unconditional release. Dr. Diab has finally been reunited with his family in Canada, including his son who was born after his extradition.
For The Real News Network, I spoke to Dr. Diab about his decade-long ordeal and about the individuals and organizations who had a hand in that ordeal – former Conservative Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and B’nai Brith Canada. My interview of Dr. Diab can be seen here: