Hassan Diab seeks damages in Ontario court over extradition to France
Published Monday, January 13, 2020 3:59PM EST Last Updated Monday, January 13, 2020 5:05PM EST
Ottawa sociology professor Hassan Diab is suing the federal government over his extradition to France on allegations of terrorism.
Diab, his wife and two young children have filed a notice of action in Ontario Superior Court seeking tens of millions of dollars for alleged abuse of process, infliction of emotional distress and other claims.
Diab, 66, accuses the government of negligent investigation and malicious prosecution and says federal officials violated his constitutional guarantees of freedom of movement, liberty and security of the person.
The assertions have not been proven in court and the government has yet to file a response.
The RCMP arrested Diab in November 2008 in response to a request by France. French authorities suspected he was involved in the 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue that killed four people and injured dozens of others, an accusation he has always denied.
Following drawn-out court proceedings, Diab was extradited to France where he spent three years behind bars, including time in solitary confinement.
In January 2018, French judges dismissed the allegations against him and ordered his immediate release. He is now back in Canada with his family.
Diab said upon his return he did not want financial compensation from the Canadian government, just changes to the "lousy" extradition law to ensure no one else goes through what he endured.
An external review of Diab's extradition case for the Canadian government concluded that federal lawyers who worked on the file "acted in a manner that was ethical and consistent" with law and policy.
Diab rejected the report, released last July, as a "whitewash exercise."
Amnesty International Canada and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association wrote to federal political leaders during the fall election campaign looking for commitments to establish a full, judge-led public inquiry that addresses the Diab case and the flaws in Canada's extradition system.
"Crucially, justice dictates that the inquiry be specifically tasked with determining appropriate redress for Dr. Diab and his family, including an official apology and fair compensation for Canada's part in the human rights violations he suffered," the letter said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 13, 2020.