The lawyer and family of a former Ottawa professor who is being held in a French jail are calling on the Canadian government to intervene in his case.
At a press conference, Donald Bayne, the lawyer in Canada for Hassan Diab, urged the government to pressure the French at the highest levels to release his client from prison.
"We call on the Canadian government, whose first obligation to its citizens is to protect their security," Bayne said. "The Charter of Rights protects the security of the person."
Diab, who taught at both Ottawa universities, was extradited to France in 2014 because of an investigation into his alleged involvement in a 1980 Paris synagogue bombing. Evidence against him relies in part on controversial handwriting analysis, which Bayne called illogical, and secret intelligence that has not been revealed in court. Diab has not yet been charged.
On April 24 French judicial investigators recommended for the sixth time in a year that Diab be released due to insufficient evidence. The prosecutor successfully appealed the first five orders on the grounds that Diab represents a flight risk.
"There's no evidence to support that," Bayne said. "Moreover, he was released for 12 days in Paris ... without incident, observing all conditions of bail. There's no merit whatsoever to the allegation that he's a flight risk."
Raina Tfaily, Diab's wife, specifically called on the prime minister and minister of foreign affairs to step in.
"I know that your lives are very far from ours but I would like you to imagine, just for a second, what it feels like to be deprived of one's children year after year and to long to just hold them," she said. "I ask and beg you to put an end to this nightmare."