Egyptian authorities extend detention of two Canadians for a further 45 days

September 30th, 2013

For immediate release –

45 days after their initial arrest while seeking Egyptian police help returning to their hotel at a checkpoint, Canadians Dr. Tarek Loubani and John Greyson have had their detention extended for a further 45 days by Egyptian prosecutors.


September 30th, 2013

For immediate release –

45 days after their initial arrest while seeking Egyptian police help returning to their hotel at a checkpoint, Canadians Dr. Tarek Loubani and John Greyson have had their detention extended for a further 45 days by Egyptian prosecutors.

An Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman, speaking to Reuters, confirmed the men would be charged with “participating in an illegal demonstration”. The spokesman, in the same interview, indicated that prosecutors were considering espionage charges against the two Canadians based on “surveillance equipment” they found in their possession.

The renewal of detention comes days after a statement by John and Tarek was released where they recounted their experiences in Cairo.

The day of their arrest, the pair were filming a demonstration near their hotel when Tarek responded to calls for a doctor. The pair reported they witnessed and documented the deaths of fifty Egyptians, who were “students, workers, professionals, professors, all shapes, all ages, unarmed,” according to their statement.

After leaving the site of the demonstration and approaching police for help finding their way to their hotel, the pair reported being “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.”

“Given John and Tarek’s horrendous experiences from the day of their arrest until now, we have absolutely no faith that they will receive justice at the hands of the Egyptian legal system,” commented Cecilia Greyson, John’s sister. “We have every reason to believe, given the absence of evidence against Tarek and John, and the ridiculous nature of the charges, that they are not being held for anything that they did; they are being held because of what they saw and documented on August 16th,” she added.

“By unashamedly accusing Tarek of providing medical care to severely wounded Egyptians, and John of filming the unfolding carnage, the Egyptian Government have only acted to tarnish their own image and credibility,” said Mohammed Loubani. “Tarek is a doctor, and John is a filmmaker. This is not a complex case. It is a simple case. Providing medical aid to the wounded and filming historic events as they unfold is what doctors and filmmakers do,” he added.
“The Foreign Ministry’s assertion that Tarek and John’s equipment – a laptop, camera gear, a home wireless router, and a toy helicopter – could lead to further espionage charges only serves to highlight the heightened state of paranoia and xenophobia sweeping Egypt, whose government also arrested a stork,” said Mohammed Loubani.

“We stand together with the Canadian Government, the many artists, filmmakers, and 145,000 petitioners of all walks of life who are calling for the Egyptian Government to put a stop to this tragic episode and release John and Tarek immediately,” concluded Cecilia Greyson.

Contact: Cecilia Greyson, cgreyson@gmail.com

Author: Justin Podur

Ecology. Environmental Science. Political Science. Anti-imperialism. Political fiction. Teach at York U's FES. Author. Writer at ZNet, TeleSUR, AlterNet, Ricochet, and the Independent Media Institute.