Friday, November 12, 2010

Hassan Diab: the French deception 2

The courtroom demolition of France's case against Hassan Diab continued this morning.

Just as he did with the passport evidence earlier this week, Diab's lawyer Don Bayne dropped a sixteen-tonne weight on another misrepresentation in the Record of Case (ROC) certified by the wily French examining magistrate Marc Trévidic.

This time it wasn't conflicting accounts of Diab's alleged use of passport(s) to gain entry to France. It was what can only be described as deliberate deception by
Trévidic: tailoring his ROC by omitting crucial evidence that made a nonsense of his claims--evidence, furthermore, that he was fully aware of.

In the ROC,
Trévidic drew parallels between the rue Copernic bombing in Paris in 1980 and a subsequent bombing in Antwerp in 1981. In each case, a hotel had been selected that was near the target (a synagogue), and a nearby railway station for a quick getaway. The clear implication was, on so-called similar fact inference, that the same gang of terrorists, allegedly including Diab, was involved.

There was just one problem. In fact, there were four problems.

Trévidic somehow failed to note that his predecessor Guy Joly, who had travelled to Beligium and upon whom he had been relying for his account of the Antwerp bombing, also named the three suspects in the case.

Guess what? Diab was not one of them. They were known to the Belgian police: Kathleen Hill, an Englishwoman married to an IRA terrorist, Hasan Akbalickci, a Turk, and Atman Yusuf.

Trévidic didn't include three other salient facts either, that distinguished the Antwerp bombing from the Paris one. First, the Belgian police were not convinced that the bombing in Antwerp had even been targeting the synagogue. It was set off in the financial district of Antwerp and could, in their view, have been an anti-capitalist attentat. Second, the bomb type was entirely different. Third, two terrorist groups immediately claimed responsibility for the Antwerp bombing: Black September and Action Direct. In Paris, no group claimed responsibility.

So much for the "clear links" alleged in the ROC between the two attacks. All we are left with is a hotel, a railway station and a synagogue in close proximity. As Bayne noted, raising Antwerp was an attempt to further implicate Diab in the rue Copernic bombing when all of the evidence to the contrary, including the the fact that the participants in the Antwerp attack has already been identified, had been adroitly excised by
Trévidic. Had that evidence been included, there would have been no argument to make--in fact there would have been no reason to talk about Antwerp at all.

So much for what the prosecution has called inconsequential errors. So much for the presumption of reliability in a Record of Case submitted by the requesting state (France). And--if the extradition case succeeds--so much for the Charter rights of any Canadian citizen being able to protect us from being framed by a foreign power.

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