Canadian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said on Sunday that Canada is “disappointed” with the decision by an Egyptian court to extend the detention of two Canadian citizens by a further 45 days.
Tarek Loubani and John Greyson have been in Tora prison since 16 August, having been arrested when they asked police for directions. No formal charges against the Canadians have been announced. At the time of their arrest they were accused, along with approximately 140 others, of murder, conspiring to murder, thuggery, violence, incitement to violence and destruction of public buildings, according to an associate of the legal office handling their case.
Yelich said: “Canada continues to press for a timely and positive resolution to this situation and, in the absence of confirmation of the charges, once again calls for their release.” She confirmed that the Canadian side has “been in close contact with Egyptian officials on multiple occasions,” and added, “The well-being of Dr. Loubani and Mr. Greyson is our top priority.”
Loubani and Greyson began a hunger-strike in protest of their detention in mid-September. A website run by friends and family published a statement from Loubani and Greyson, in which they describe their arrest and the conditions they have been subjected to in prison. They reported that they were “arrested, searched, caged, questioned, interrogated, videotaped with a ‘Syrian terrorist’, slapped, beaten, ridiculed, hot-boxed, refused phone calls, stripped, shaved bald [and] accused of being foreign mercenaries.” They called for “due process” and demanded they be released.
Loubani is an emergency doctor and assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at Western University in Canada. He is also a member of Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care and had worked in Gaza to provide Advanced Cardiac Life Support training for Gazan doctors.
Greyson is an award winning filmmaker and a professor in the film department at York University in Toronto. Loubani and Greyson were en-route to Gaza for the former to continue his work with Gazan physicians and the latter to make a short film about the medical project.