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Hassan Diab speaks with reporters in Ottawa on Jan. 17, 2018.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

When he was justice minister in 2014, Peter MacKay signed off on Hassan Diab’s extradition to France without any guarantees that consular officials would monitor the Canadian academic’s high-profile trial and despite concerns he could face an unfair process in the European country.

Mr. Diab, an Ottawa sociology professor, went on to spend three years in pretrial detention in Paris – mostly in solitary confinement – before being released from prison in January after two judges ordered the dismissal of terrorism charges against him. The newly disclosed Canadian government consular case notes from the time confirm Mr. MacKay oversaw the conditions of Mr. Diab’s extradition to France and did not ask officials to give him any special treatment.

Mr. MacKay said on Thursday he could not get into the details of the Diab case, but noted that France is not a jurisdiction Canada would normally worry about vis-à-vis the rule of law and fair treatment of extradited individuals.

“My actions, of course as in all cases, occurred after briefings and recommendations from the professional public servants at the [Department of Justice] and after due consideration of the requesting nation. In this case France, with whom we have treaty obligations," Mr. MacKay said in an e-mail to The Globe and Mail.

“It was handled no differently than all other cases.”

The case notes, dated Nov. 25, 2014, 11 days after Mr. Diab’s removal from Canada, were obtained by researcher Ken Rubin through the Access to Information Act, with the consent of Mr. Diab and his wife Rania Tfaily, and provided to The Globe. The records come as Mr. Diab anxiously awaits a decision from the French Court of Appeal, which will determine whether his release order should be reversed and if he should be sent back to France for trial. French magistrates are expected to rule on the appeal Friday.

Mr. Diab’s ordeal began in 2008, when the RCMP arrested him at the request of French authorities, who accused him of being involved in a 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue that killed four people and injured more than 40. He has always denied the allegations.

After his arrest, Mr. Diab was jailed for 4½ months and then released into house arrest. In June, 2011, Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Maranger ordered Mr. Diab’s extradition – despite saying the evidence against him was “weak, convoluted and confusing.” Mr. Diab was removed from Canada on Nov. 14, 2014, after the Supreme Court declined to hear his appeal.

Another consular case note from Nov. 25, 2014, directed Canadian officials to “provide consular services to subject [Mr. Diab] like any other Canadian citizen within mission’s purview.

“Given that there were no special assurances/conditions placed on the extradition, mission would not attend court hearing unless exceptional in nature (not the case here),” read another case note.

A later note, dated Dec. 1, 2014, said a consular case-management officer informed Mr. Diab’s lawyer of the Canadian mission’s “mandate” to check in on Mr. Diab’s well-being and conduct visits every six months, and told him officials don’t attend court hearings.

Further consular case notes said Mr. Diab and his lawyers reached out to consular officials shortly after his extradition to express concerns about the “fairness and transparency of this coming trial in France.”

Donald Bayne, Mr. Diab’s lawyer, said this week he was not surprised by the contents of the consular case notes. He said he wrote to Mr. MacKay’s predecessor, Rob Nicholson, who was justice minister when the government was in talks with France to extradite Mr. Diab, asking for special conditions to be applied to the professor’s case. Mr. MacKay had taken over the justice portfolio when Mr. Diab was officially removed from Canada.

Mr. Bayne said Canadian officials did not visit Mr. Diab at his court hearings in France while the Conservatives were in power. He said the government’s approach to the high-profile consular case changed when the Liberals were elected in 2015, and even more when Chrystia Freeland was appointed Foreign Affairs Minister in 2017.

“She was exceptional in having her consular staff attend [hearings] all of the time,” Mr. Bayne said.

“That was in stark contrast to our experience before that happened.”

Numerous court rulings have cast doubt on the evidence against Mr. Diab. His release in January came after new evidence showed he was in Lebanon writing university exams at the time of the 1980 bombing. It also confirmed his claim that his passport was stolen and used by someone else at the time.

Mr. Diab has spent the past 10 months enjoying his freedom and spending time with his two young children, aged 5 and 3. His wife, Ms. Tfaily, said they feel like they’re “completely in the dark” ahead of Friday’s appeal decision.

“I see the tension really building day by day, hour by hour,” Ms. Tfaily said.

Mr. Bayne said that while an appeal denial on Friday would be a win for Mr. Diab, French prosecutors can still take the appeal to the country’s Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, the Canadian government has appointed former deputy attorney-general of Ontario, Murray Segal, to conduct an external review of Mr. Diab’s extradition. Mr. Bayne said his client is boycotting the review because it doesn’t address the “shortcomings” of Canada’s extradition laws.

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