Dr. Dawg

Hassan Diab: a very Canadian railroad

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Hassan Diab is in the news again. He’s a Canadian citizen whom the Conservative Minister of Justice, Rob Nicholson, wants to extradite to France to face—what, exactly?

Widely reported as being a suspect in the bombing of a Paris synagogue over forty years ago, Diab isn’t even facing charges there, as it turns out.

But here in his own country, Diab has faced a massive railroading by the judicial system, including prosecutorial and even judicial bias.

Despite bland assurances to the contrary, the French judicial system isn’t like ours. For example, a key piece of evidence is a handwriting exhibit. A grossly incompetent “expert” in France, whose testimony was produced at the very last minute after the evidence of two others was demolished by the defence, identified the writing as Diab’s. This was refuted during the extradition hearing in 2011 by handwriting experts of international stature. But in France, these experts would not be permitted to be called by the defence as rebuttal witnesses. The examining magistrate, who gets to decide what witnesses will be heard, had already withheld exculpatory evidence from the Record of Case that was sent to Canada for extradition purposes. None of this is exactly reassuring for those of us who value the presumption of innocence, impartial procedures and full disclosure.

Not that a trial, fair or otherwise, is in the cards at the moment. As noted, Diab hasn’t even been charged with anything.

This November, the decision of Minister Nicholson to boot a Canadian citizen out of his own country is going to the Federal Court of Appeal. And Diab will have the support there of Amnesty International, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, and the BC Civil Liberties Association, concerned that some of the evidence against Diab may have been extracted under torture.

The haters, you can be sure, will be out in force. When Diab first ran into this trouble back in 2009, he was teaching at Carleton University. President Roseann Runte fired him in mid-class immediately after B’nai Brith got involved.

Due process? Carleton didn’t need no stinkin’ due process. Insisting upon it, in fact, was held to be proof of anti-Semitism. In the words of Frank Dimant, CEO of B’nai Brith:

It’s appalling university professors would lobby for the reinstatement of a professor who is alleged to have bombed a synagogue. And one asks this question: is it because a synagogue was bombed?

Vintage Dimant, of course, from a man who sees anti-Semites under every bush and bed. But he was joined by a rabble of commentators and journalists, who claimed that Diab’s mere presence in the classroom posed a physical threat to students. (Not even Dimant went that far.)

“Students shouldn’t have to wonder whether they’ll be safe when they walk through the classroom door,” blatted the Ottawa Citizen. Andrew Potter, now the Citizen’s managing editor, came completely unglued, arguing in classic McCarthyite style that hiring Diab in the first place was proof that the university department was anti-Semitic:

“[I]t is hard to interpret the slur against Jews as anything but entirely deliberate….[P]erhaps [Peter] Gose [Chair of the Department] believes that Muslim students might actually find it congenial to be taught by an accused terrorist and mass murder [sic].”

Watch for more of this crazy talk. In fact, it’s already beginning:

If he is certain of his innocence, he should have no problem going to France to prove so in the case of a 1980 terrorist bombing at a Paris synagogue.

Considering that modern France’s legal system follows the basic principle of innocent until proven guilty, Diab should stand up and prove his innocence.

That’s not, of course, what “presumption of innocence” means, but so what? Someone has to pay for the atrocity against a Paris synagogue in 1980, and at this point just about anyone with an Arabic name will do.

Amnesty international, the BCCLA and the CCLA will no doubt join the Carleton Department of Sociology and Anthropology as Potter-certified anti-Semitic organizations. And judging from Diab’s treatment in the courts so far, the howling mob may yet have its way.

“Hassan Diab.” With a handle like that, he’s clearly guilty of something, right?

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on July 5, 2013 1:48 PM.

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