Egypt frees two detained Canadians: Ottawa

AFP, Sunday 6 Oct 2013

Canadian officials welcome release of John Greyson and Tarek Loubani after their weeks-long detention without charge in Egyptian prison cell

Canadian filmmaker, John Greyson, and emergency room physician, Tarek Loubani (Photo: ctvnews)

Egyptian authorities have released two Canadians who had been held without charge in Cairo since mid-August, Canadian officials said Sunday.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper welcomed the release of John Greyson, a Toronto filmmaker and university professor, and Tarek Loubani, an emergency room doctor from London, Ontario.

Harper, speaking in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, said that Ottawa "welcomes this decision by the government of Egypt" to set the pair free.

"We look forward to seeing these two Canadian citizens return home in the not-too-distant future," Harper told reporters.
The pair, who were transiting Egypt on their way to the neighboring Palestinian Gaza Strip when arrested, had not been formally charged.

They were arrested in Cairo on August 16 amid bloody clashes between security forces and Islamists that killed dozens of people

The two Canadians ended a hunger strike after winning small concessions from their jailers, a relative of one of the men said Thursday.

In Ottawa, Minister of State Lynne Yelich earlier issued a statement welcoming the release.

"I look forward to Dr. Loubani and Mr. Greyson being reunited with their families and friends, who have shown tremendous strength during this difficult time," the statement read.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird "and I were in contact with senior Egyptian officials on numerous occasions concerning this case," and diplomats at the Canadian embassy in Cairo "worked tirelessly to secure their release."

"I wish to express our appreciation to the Egyptian authorities for providing consistent consular access,"

said Yelich. In an open letter smuggled out of prison and released in late September, Loubani and Greyson called conditions at Tora prison in Cairo "ridiculous."

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