The Ordeal of Hassan Diab

Deutsch, Judith

Publisher:  Counterpunch
Date Written:  13/07/2017
Year Published:  2017  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX21090

Sociology professor and Canadian citizen Hassan Diab was wrongfully arrested and extradiated to France in 2008. To this day the Canadian government is silent on the events.



Canada is 150 and the French republic is 225, but innumerable injustices persist. Hassan Diab is a case in point because what is happening to him eerily repeats the past. Every person educated in France, and many Canadians, know about the Dreyfus Affair. At the turn of the 20th century, the Jewish French soldier Alfred Dreyfus was charged with treason and given a life sentence at Devil's Island. The accusation was based on fraudulent handwriting analysis. Emile Zola, the eminent French writer, wrote about the framing of Dreyfus in J'Accuse, a rallying cry against racism and state injustice: "…the ultimate slap in the face to any notion of truth or justice. Dreyfus is innocent…. Hiding behind this odious anti-Semitism which will kill the great and liberal France -It is a crime to exploit patriotism for works of hate." The actual perpetrator was known to French authorities but was never charged. Dreyfus remained in prison and it took years for him to be exonerated. Just like Dreyfus, Diab's case rests on fraudulent handwriting analysis, and racism finds its current expression in Islamophobia. French and Canadian authorities appear to ignore this history.

Not long after the Dreyfus Affair, Franz Kafka wrote about judicial secrecy and arbitrary detention in The Trial, a novel of psychological terror in which the prisoner is not even informed about the accusations or the identity of his accusers. Hassan Diab wrote a poem called "The Trial": "Kafka visited me…. I told him about my trial and he told me about his…It pained us very much That history keeps repeating itself… Dreyfus was one hundred years ago. Did we learn anything? Did anything change?"
Insert T_CxShareButtonsHorizontal.html here