John Greyson and his physician colleague had been the subjects of rallies during the Toronto Film Festival and elsewhere since they were arrested August 16 in Cairo while en route to Gaza on a humanitarian mission. Canadian officials said yesterday the documentary filmmaker-activist and Dr. Tarek Loubani have been released after 51 days in what has been described in brutal conditions. The pair had been on a hunger strike for nearly three weeks. They were freed Sunday morning Cairo time, but there’s been no word about when they return to Canada. “The government of Canada has obviously been pushing for that and welcomes this decision by the government of Egypt, and we look forward to seeing these two Canadian citizens return home in the not too distant future,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a release. The pair issued a statement from jail last month saying they had witnessed protests near their hotel in which dozens of people were killed. Loubani treated some of the wounded while Greyson filmed the scene.
When they left the protest, they stopped to ask Cairo police for directions. Greyson and Loubani were beaten and taken into custody, where they held without formal charges despite the Canadian government’s calls for their release. Egyptian officials last week extended the men’s detention, saying they were being held during an investigating of items found in the men’s hotel room, including a camera attached to a small plane.