Canadian Filmmaker Imprisioned
I received the following e-mail from Angry Planet producer Peter Rowe:
Currently wrapping up my filming in Turkey and returning tomorrow. However our colleague John Greyson (left) will not be returning home - he is still imprisoned in a Cairo jail for the crime of filmmaking.
Canadian filmmaker John Greyson and doctor Tarek Loubani have embarked on a hunger strike to protest their incarceration in a Cairo jail. Supporters are continuing to appeal to the Canadian government to pressure Egyptian authorities for the safe release of these two unlawfully detained men.
Please consider signing the petition to ask the Canadian government to use all diplomatic means to try to get these two men out of this Egyptian jail: https://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/canadian-government-help-free-tarek-and-john
Olivia Ward Foreign Affairs Reporter, Published on Thu Sep 26 2013
Rally for John Greyson and Dr. Tarek Loubani
“Their case was reviewed with 144 others who were detained,” said Khaled El Shalakany, one of their Cairo lawyers. “But today we got 10 minutes to talk, and the judges were more responsive.”
It was the fifth time that filmmaker John Greyson and emergency doctor Tarek Loubani had been hauled before the court since they were arrested on Aug. 16 and detained without charge under Egypt’s emergency laws. Their original 15-day detention has been extended twice. A new ruling that could see them released — or their detention renewed again — is expected by Sept. 30.
The two have been on a liquids-only diet for the past 11 days to protest their detention, and relatives fear for their health and safety in the jail’s notoriously overcrowded conditions.
Cairo's Tora prison behind troops where Jon and Tarek
are being held.
“John and Tarek are innocent,” Shalakany said. “They were caught up in a very serious crisis in Egypt’s modern history, and were at the wrong place at the wrong time.” Hundreds of people were arrested in the area following clashes between security forces and sympathizers of the Muslim Brotherhood, which saw up to 500 killed.
If the Canadians were charged as suspected militants, they would face serious punishment.
Although the government is “quite sympathetic” to their case, Shalakany said, “it does not interfere with the judiciary.” Egypt is under growing political pressure to release them.
Greyson’s sister, Cecilia Greyson, said from Halifax that although she was encouraged by the positive signs in Thursday’s hearing, “it’s been a real roller-coaster ride and we’re not holding our breath. This is not a legal system we are used to dealing with.”
Canadian officials, who have visited the two men regularly, are their only link with the outside world. They have no access to direct communication. “Consular staff said they were very tired,” said Cecilia Greyson. “But their spirits are OK. They are very positive individuals.”