rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Hassan Diab: Last stop on the railroad

Please chip in to support rabble's election 2019 coverage. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Apparently caving in to the current anti-terrorist panic, the Supreme Court of Canada has refused to hear the appeal of fellow-citizen Hassan Diab against his extradition to France for alleged involvement in the rue Copernic bombing of a synagogue in Paris.

I have followed this case closely, and sat through several court sessions in which Diab and his lawyers laid bare the almost cavalier inadequacy of the French case against him. Rather than reviewing all that, I'll let the extradition judge sum up the case in his own words: "The case presented by the Republic of France against Mr. Diab is a weak case. The prospects of conviction in the context of a fair trial seem unlikely."

There’s a good synopsis of the proceedings against him here. Diab was committed for extradition primarily on the basis of handwriting analysis that was decisively refuted by world-class experts. (The "analyst" deployed by France had 21 hours of training.)

Canada is a patchwork quilt of extradition law, which is a provincial responsibility. Diab was ordered extradited under Ontario law. He would not have been in BC. The SCC could have set a national standard here, so that Canadians across the country would be equal under the law. Instead, matters remain exactly as they are. Any citizen can be extradited with relatively weak evidence by Canadian legal standards; in Ontario, it’s virtually on whim. Diab hasn't even been formally charged with anything by the French authorities. Doesn't matter.

He will not receive anything like a fair trial in France. There, evidence obtained under torture has been held admissible in a court of law; in Canada, it is not. Part of France's Record of Case against Diab was withdrawn at the last minute because of that. Be assured it will now be produced, in all of its tainted glory. And under French law, the defence (not to mention the court itself) will never know the actual source of this "intelligence."

It's not that a conviction is assured -- worse, it is required. An atrocity like the synagogue bombing cries out for retribution. Our sense of justice demands it. The normal presumption of innocence fails to function: blood will have blood. France stumbled after the bombing occurred, its then-Prime Minister Raymond Barre calling the bombing "a heinous act against Jews in a synagogue that struck four innocent Frenchmen crossing the street" -- the implication, intended or not, being that French Jews were neither innocent nor French. Well, France now has its chance to repair the damage. The long arm of the law has finally got a man by the neck. Innocent or guilty, his sacrifice, and with it France’s expiation, is now assured.

In Canada, there will be a collective "good riddance." Our soldiers are being murdered on the streets. No one is safe any more. So what if the evidence against Hassan Diab runs from weak to grossly contradictory to nonexistent? After all, it's not as though his name were Mike Smith.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.