Family, friends and supporters celebrated the news that London emergency room doctor Tarek Loubani and Toronto filmmaker and activist John Greyson were freed on Saturday from the Cairo prison where they have been held without charge since Aug 16. The Canadian government shared a statement upon their release, indicating that they were facilitating the departure of the two from Egypt.
The two had arrived in Cairo on August 15 with the intention of traveling to Gaza immediately for humanitarian work. Given the volatile situation in Egypt, travel to the border with Gaza was problematic and they delayed their travel plans, and instead found themselves detained in Cairo without charge on August 16th. They have since spent seven weeks in deplorable prison conditions, and recently ended a 16-day hunger strike to protest their detention.
More than one hundred and forty thousand people worldwide signed a petition for their release, and ralies and creative protests – including actions at the Toronto International Film Festival and last night, at the Toronto Nuit Blanche – have been unrelenting during their 50 days of in jaii.
Reports indicate that the two have already left the country, and their family and friends have been thanking supporters.
While the ordeal may be over for these two Canadians, their detention and report of their atrocious treatment in prison have brought international attention to the ongoing situation in Egypt, and to the reality that many others, including two Al Jazeera journalists, remain in detention without charge.