Film on Hassan Diab’s controversial extradition premieres April 9
In 2008, former University of Ottawa professor Hassan Diab was arrested for an alleged role in a 1980 bombing of a synagogue in Paris.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Maranger, on request from France, requested Diab’s extradition in 2011, and Diab was officially ordered to be extradited by Minister of Justice Rob Nicholson four years ago this week, on April 4, 2012.
Despite Nicholson’s decision, many Canadians believe that Diab is innocent and has been wrongly accused. A group of these Canadians have become so passionate about the case that they created an organization called Justice for Hassan Diab, and have raised money through crowdfunding on Indiegogo to create a documentary to spread the word about Diab’s story.
Considering Diab’s connection to the school, the organization decided that there’s no better place to premiere the film than at the U of O itself. Cinema Academica, a U of O student film club, will be hosting the premiere of Rubber Stamped – The Hassan Diab Story at 7 p.m. on April 9. and will feature Peter Gose, an anthropologist and founding member of the organization behind the film, as a speaker at the event.
Joey Clavette, a third-year philosophy and law student and club president of Cinema Academica, is elated to have the film premiere at the club’s event. Clavette attended a talk by Diab at Octopus Books, while Diab was still in Canada, and became passionate about the case as soon as he learned of it.
“It’s been something that’s been upsetting me for a while, ever since I heard about it, so I was really glad to have the opportunity to do something about it,” says Clavette.
As a student studying law, Clavette feels that the case is a “huge breach of his civil rights.” He feels that Diab was denied his right as a Canadian citizen to a free trial and his right to an appeal, and feels that our extradition law needs to be updated to provide citizens with a criminal trial in Canada prior to being extradited.
Clavette and those who are involved with Justice for Hassan Diab are far from the only people questioning Canada’s decision in this case. In November 2015, Gerald Caplan, a scholar and former NDP national director, wrote a column for the Globe and Mail about the lack of evidence in the case and Canada’s responsibility to its citizens to “strongly demand a fair process from France.”
By screening the film at the school, Clavette is hoping that more U of O students learn about the case involving a former professor and it inspires them to “go and try to hold the courts and the government accountable for letting people slip through the cracks.”
“I don’t understand why it’s not a thing everybody knows about in Ottawa because it hits very close to home,” says Clavette, who believes the case goes against Canada’s free and liberal reputation. “I’m really hoping that it brings in some students who can hear about it more and creates more of fuss.”
Clavette says that although Cinema Academica is free and open to the public, they will be collecting donations for the Justice for Hassan Diab group to help support the film and the campaign.
The film will be screened on April 9 at 7 p.m. in STE A0150. For more information on the screening, check out the Facebook event page here.