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Canadians jailed in Egypt start hunger strike

Two Canadians in Cairo begin hunger strike to protest 'arbitrary' detention

Ahram Online, Tuesday 17 Sep 2013
John Greyson and Tarek Loubani
Canadian filmmaker John Greyson and emergency room physician Tarek Loubani - detained in Egypt for about a month (Photo: ctvnews)
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Two Canadians jailed in Egypt have started a hunger strike to protest their "arbitrary" detention.

Canadian filmmaker John Greyson and emergency room physician Tarek Loubani - detained in Egypt for about a month - declared on Monday that they will go on a hunger strike to “protest the arbitrary nature of their detention by Egyptian authorities,” according to "Free Tarek Loubani and John Greyson," an online blog launched in solidarity with them.

Greyson and Loubani’s detention was extended for 15 days by Cairo prosecution on Sunday.

Judicial sources told Ahram Online that they are accused of rioting and disturbing traffic.

The two Canadians were arrested on 16 August in Cairo while en route to the Gaza Strip, where they are working on an academic and medical collaboration between the University of Western Ontario (UWO) and the main hospital in the Gaza Strip, al-Shifa hospital.

According to a report issued by Amnesty International, the two were arrested at 10pm when they approached the security forces to ask for directions to their hotel.

The detainees were reportedly arrested in the vicinity of Ramses Square in downtown Cairo during fierce clashes between pro-Morsi demonstrators and security forces supporters.

No official statements have been yet issued from Egyptian authorities regarding their detention.

A petition calling for the release of the two Canadians has received 115,000 signatures to date, according to a press statement issued on Monday by the blog supporting both men, Aachange.org.

"In addition, 311 prominent cultural and academic figures have signed a letter calling for John and Tarek’s release. Among the signatories are Alec Baldwin, Alex Gibney, Arundhati Roy, Atom Egoyan, Ben Affleck, Charlize Theron, Danny Glover, Sarah Polley, Naomi Klein and Michael Ondaatje," added the statement.

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