Ottawa man challenges extradition order
TORONTO - The Crown is to make its arguments today in a Toronto court that will decide the fate of an Ottawa professor facing extradition to France.
French authorities suspect Hassan Diab, 59, was involved in the anti-Semitic bombing of a Paris synagogue in 1980 that killed four people and injured dozens of others.
Diab denies any role in the deadly attack, saying the unwavering moral principle throughout his life has been to promote equality and respect for all.
Lawyers for Diab challenged the decision to extradite him Monday in the Court of Appeal for Ontario, arguing before the panel of three judges that fundamental mistakes were made.
Lawyer Marlys Edwardh told the judges of Ontario's highest court that a jury could never reasonably convict Diab based on the evidence.
Edwardh said the case centres on whether a handwriting analysis that linked Diab to the bombing is reliable, and she says defence experts are troubled by how French expert Anne Bisotti reached her conclusion that it is Diab's handwriting.
Diab was committed for extradition in 2011 to face French authorities, even though Ontario Superior Court Judge Robert Maranger acknowledged the case against him was weak. He had to surrender himself into custody for the duration of the appeal hearing, expected to last two days, but about two dozen supporters attended court Monday.
In April last year, then-justice minister Rob Nicholson signed an extradition order surrendering Diab to France.
The RCMP arrested Diab, a Canadian of Lebanese descent, in November 2008 in response to a request by France.
Diab's lawyers are arguing that Nicholson made several mistakes, including opting to surrender him even though France has not yet decided whether to put him on trial for the bombing.