Two Canadians remain in Egypt prison

The big news: John Greyson and Tarek Loubani could stay behind bars for 45 days

Mohamed Abd el Ghany / Reuters

“We have too many problems with foreigners involved in terrorism.”—a uniformed officer at Egypt’s office of the state prosecutor

Determined to snuff out any whiff of foreign terrorism, Egyptian prosecutors announced yesterday that John Greyson and Dr. Tarek Loubani, a pair of Canadians who’ve been detained without charge since Aug. 16, would remain behind bars for another 45 days. This morning, the plight of the doctor and filmmaker who intended to visit the Gaza Strip graced the front page of The Globe and Mail, the National Post and the Toronto Star. Now, the Prime Minister’s Office is calling on Egypt to release the two men.

Greyson and Loubani’s struggle with Egyptian authorities has been quite public. They were arrested during protests in Cairo’s Ramses Square. Loubani claims to have provided medical aid to those injured, while Greyson claims to have filmed the doctor at work. Egyptian prosecutors, of course, claim otherwise. They confiscated Greyson’s equipment.

His sister, Cecilia, told the Post from Halifax that the family’s not all that shocked. “We assume that this evidence is unflattering to the Egyptian government, to put it mildly,” she said.

Over the weekend, the jailed Canadians released a statement through their lawyer. They didn’t shy away from describing the scene they witnessed in Ramses Square. “The wounded and dying never stopped coming. Between us, we saw over fifty Egyptians die: students, workers, professionals, professors, all shapes, all ages, unarmed,” they wrote.

On Friday, Foreign Minister John Baird met with his counterpart from Egypt, and called the talk “good.” On Sunday, junior foreign minister Lynne Yelich called the well-being of Greyson and Loubani her “top priority.” This morning, the Prime Minister’s Office itself pressured the Egyptians. “In the absence of charges, Dr. Loubani and Mr. Greyson should be released immediately.”

Very diplomatic language. No demands. For the two guys languishing in prison, perhaps that’s a moderately disappointing good sign.


What’s above the fold

The Globe and Mail A new, versatile Canadian satellite launched into space on Sunday.
National Post A Canadian dentist injured in a bomb attack is suing Iran.
Toronto Star Hip hop superstar Drake will lead a rebranding of the Toronto Raptors.
Ottawa Citizen The feds found eavesdropping devices at the defence department’s new HQ.
CBC News The U.S. government could shut down tomorrow if Congress can’t cooperate.
CTV News The prime minister wants two Canadians released from an Egyptian prison.
National Newswatch  Critics of the NDP say its political strategy won’t win any elections.

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