Tarek and John Update: Time to close the loophole

Oct 1/13, 10pm

Time to close the loophole


Oct 1/13, 10pm

Time to close the loophole

The Toronto Star’s publication this morning “John Greyson and Tarek Loubani: Egypt considering murder charges against Canadians” contained the same list of accusations – which Tarek and John characterized in their own statement as a “grab-bag of ludicrous charges” that the district prosecutor released 42 days ago. At that time (Aug 20/13), we wrote: “the prosecution’s press release is a clear attempt to put a group of foreigners arrested at different times and places into a single group to create a far-fetched story about foreigners to justify ongoing imprisonment. No allegations against John and Tarek have been relayed through consular officials or their Egyptian counsel. No Egyptian official has linked any names, much less Tarek and John’s, to these far-fetched allegations.”

42 days later, nothing has changed, other than the imposition of 42 days of pointless suffering on Tarek and John. There is still no specificity to these accusations. There is still no linking of any specific accusation to any specific person. A spokesperson for Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs provided another set of equally ridiculous accusations to Reuters and the Toronto Star over the weekend.

We appreciate Prime Minister Harper’s statement on September 29, that in the absence of charges, Tarek and John should be released immediately. But the statement, like previous statements by Minister Baird, leave a loophole for the Egyptian authorities. Given the abuse Tarek and John went through upon arrest, the wild nature of the accusations, the lack of a fair process under the emergency law, and the lack of credibility of the judicial system after 46 days of arbitrary detention, it should be completely clear that any charges that are brought at this point will be as absurd and abusive as the process has been to date. We need Prime Minister Harper and Minister Baird to close the loophole and ask for the immediate and unconditional release of Tarek and John.

If the Egyptian government refuses to heed the call from the PMO, there are diplomatic options. Canada’s Export Development Corporation (EDC), a government body, provides funding to Canadian businesses that operate in Egypt. Canada also has multilateral options to work with the United States and Europe, who have larger-scale ties to Egypt.

Contact: Amit Shah, amit.shah@me.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.