Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bulletin: Hassan Diab: Canada; Justice Minister's extradition decision once again delayed; Reporter Chris Cobb; Ottawa Citizen;

STORY: "Extradition terror bombing delayed," by reporter Chris Cobb, published on March 20, 2012 in the Ottawa Citizen.

GIST: Canadian Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has given no reason for once again delaying his decision on whether to extradite terrorism suspect Hassan Diab to France - in a case where the French handwriting evidence alleged to have tied Diab to the crime has come under blistering attack.

PUBLISHER'S VIEW; (Published on this Blog on Monday February 13, 2012, after Justice Minister first delayed his decision on whether to send Hassan Dian to France, under the heading, "Hussan Diab: Publisher's view: Where is the Canadian media in the face of Canada's pending complicity in a potential miscarriage of Justice?") That's still a valid question!

"The Ottawa Citizen reports a major development in the Hassan Diab extradtion case - that Justice Minister Rob Nicholson will wait another month before deciding whether to surrender for extradition former University of Ottawa professor Hassan Diab who is wanted by France in connection with a 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue, and was committed for extradition last summer by an Ottawa judge.

The Ottawa Citizen quotes a lawyer who says the Canadian Justice Minister needs the extra time "because of "new material and new assessment of the French case" against Diab.

While the Ottawa Citizen has covered the case intensively through its thorough reporting by reporter Chris Cobb, it has been largely ignored by the Canadian media - even though Canada risks sending a man to the vagaries of French justice in a case which would never be able to stand scrutiny in the Canadian courts.

As I noted in a "Publisher's View" which an on August 4, 2011 under the heading, "Amanda Knox: Her case shows the huge risk inherent in extraditing the accused alleged terrorist Hassan Diab to France.

"Revelations of the terribly flawed DNA evidence used by Italian police to connect Amanda Knox to the murder of her roommate impact strongly on another potential wrongful conviction on foreign soil: Efforts by the French government to have Canada extradite Professor Hassan Diab to face charges of murder and attempted murder in connection with the deadly bombing outside a Paris synagogue in 1980. Hassan Diab is a Lebanese-born Canadian who taught sociology at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University. As the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported in its story of Judge Robert Belanger’s decision to approve the extradition order on June 5, 2011, “ France alleges that Diab France alleges Diab was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine who made and planted a bomb that killed four people and injured more than 40 others on Oct. 3, 1980, outside the Copernic Street synagogue in Paris. But Diab insists his case is one of mistaken identity.” Although Stamps in Diab's 1980 passport indicated he was not in France at the time of the bombing. The French government alleges that Diab’s handwriting appears on a hotel registration card — evidence his lawyers have contradicted through a trio of highly regarded defence handwriting experts. It is notable that although Judge Maranger admitted the disputed French expert evidence, he likened handwriting to a “pseudo-science” and described the critical French handwriting analysis as “problematic”, “very confusing”, and with “suspect” conclusions. (Toronto Sun: February 18, 2011). Moreover, when Maranger ruled in June that he had no choice but to extradite Diab under Canada’s extradition treaty with France, he also noted that France had presented a “weak case” that is “unlikely” to result in a conviction. The Amanda Knox debacle has shown us how easy it is for an injustice to occur when forensic evidence plays a critical role in a foreign jurisprudence. (Yes, she and her co-accused were finally freed – but only after for horrible years behind bars in a foreign country, cut off from their friends and families, and facing the possibility of many more years in prison.) The difference between the Knox and Diab cases is that Canada is in a position to avoid the danger of a wrongful conviction by exercising its political authority not to ship Diab off to France to stand trial. I urge Justice Minister Rob Nicholson to stand up for justice in the case of Hassan Diab: Do not put him to the risk of trial in France on such flimsy forensic “evidence" - on such a weak case. Do not put him in the same position as Amanda Knox."

I am disappointed that the Canadian Media - other than the Ottawa Citizen have chosen to sit back quietly while the Canadian Government risks being party to a terrible miscarriage of justice by allowing Diab to be extradited in these circumstances. It is not too late to send the justice minister the message that his decision is being closely watched - by the media watchdogs - and that such complicity with a potential miscarriage of justice would not be tolerated. At the very least, the Canadian media should report fully on what is happening right now - and give the Canadian public the opportunity to make up its own mind.





I am monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:


Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:


Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.