Hassan Diab leads legal battle for Canadian citizenship certificate

Sociology professor Hassan Diab, who spent a decade fighting terrorism allegations, is now fighting in court to get a copy of his Canadian citizenship certificate.

The 65-year-old Ottawa academic is asking the Federal Court of Canada to hear his request for a replacement certificate after waiting 15 months for government officials to issue one.

Diab, who was born in Lebanon, says the government has a public duty to provide the replacement, given that he has been a Canadian citizen since 1993.

The RCMP arrested Diab in November 2008 in response to a request from France. French authorities suspected him of involvement in the 1980 Parisian synagogue bombing that killed four people and injured dozens more, a charge he has always denied.

After lengthy legal proceedings, Diab was extradited to France where he spent three years behind bars, including a period of solitary confinement.

In January last year, French judges dismissed the charges against him and ordered his immediate release. He is now back in Canada with his wife and children.

Diab’s citizenship certificate and other identifying documents were seized by the RCMP pursuant to a search warrant executed in 2008, said attorney Ayesha Kumararatne, who is representing Diab in the certificate case.

When Diab was released on bail in 2009, her health card and Ontario driver’s license were returned to her, she said. But her citizenship certificate was not returned and was later sent to France, she said.

Diab said in his 2018 application to replace his citizenship certificate that he wanted a new copy because the original was seized by authorities, Kumararatne added.

“There is no doubt as to whether Mr. Diab is a Canadian citizen. No proceedings have been taken at any time to challenge or revoke his status as a Canadian citizen,” she said.

“Therefore, he remains a Canadian citizen with all the rights and privileges that such status entails, including access to basic identification documents, which in his case would include his certificate of Canadian citizenship.”

A previous report found the government acted ethically

A protracted fight for a replacement is the “last thing” Diab should face after everything he’s been through, Kumararatne said.

In his filing this week, Diab seeks court leave to argue for an order requiring the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to make a decision on his certificate application.

Diab says he “was not made aware of any legal or other impediments to expediting” his request, adding that a reasonable period of time to comply has elapsed, which amounts to an “implied denial.”

An external review of Diab’s extradition case for the Canadian government concluded that federal attorneys who worked on the case “acted in an ethical and consistent manner” with law and policy.

Diab dismissed the report, released earlier this year, as a “whitewashing exercise”.

Hassan Diab attacks report finding government acted correctly in extradition case

Hassan Diab and his lawyer accuse the federal government of carrying out ‘money laundering’ after an external review, released today, concluded that government lawyers acted ethically and followed proper procedures to extradite him to France for a terrorism case that later collapsed. 2:47

Amnesty International Canada and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association wrote to federal political leaders on September 30 asking their respective parties to commit to a full, judge-led public inquiry that addresses the injustices the Diab case and the flaws in Canada’s extradition system. .

“Essentially, justice dictates that the inquiry be specifically tasked with determining the appropriate remedy for Dr. Diab and his family, including a formal apology and fair compensation for Canada’s part in the human rights violations that ‘he suffered,’ the letter reads.