"Justice Dies in the Darkness": The External Review of the Hassan Diab Case

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1899 ... October 1, 2019

"Justice Dies in the Darkness": The ‘External Review’ of the Hassan Diab Case

Michelle Weinroth

When former Attorney-General Jody Wilson-Raybould declined Hassan Diab’s request for an independent and transparent public inquiry into his wrongful and harrowing extradition to France, he, along with his lawyer, and countless others, feared that justice would not be served. Hassan Diab – the Alfred Dreyfus of the 21st century, who, thanks to the collaborative work of French and Canadian prosecutors, languished in Fleury-Mérogis prison for more than three years only to be released without charge – saw the writing on the wall. The "external review" that Jody Wilson-Raybould had ordered, in lieu of a public inquiry, would constitute a whitewashing exercise. Indeed, when this very report, authored by Murray Segal, former deputy Attorney-General of Ontario, was finally released in July 2019, Dr. Diab’s deepest dread was confirmed.

Fielding questions at a press conference, Dr. Diab aptly described Mr. Segal’s external review as a form of Orwellian propaganda, a self-justificatory discourse that translates the misdeeds and defects of state institutions... into legitimate, worthy, and time-honoured practices. Like much defensive political rhetoric, the report bears the hallmarks of damage control. Indeed, Mr. Segal’s review is nothing short of a desperate, though futile, measure to tart up Canada’s grotesquely unjust extradition law and to quell the disaffection with the justice system that many Canadians have shown in learning of Dr. Diab’s nightmarish extradition. Revelations in 2018 of its scandalous underpinnings were doubly shocking. Prosecutors, both here and abroad, suppressed exculpatory fingerprint evidence that would have saved Dr. Diab a decade of torment. These persons actively worked to see him both extradited and convicted on the flimsiest of handwriting samples.

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