Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Canadian pair detained in Egypt say they're OK

Consular officials have visited a pair of Canadians who have been detained in Egypt and have passed on a message that they're alright, says a mutual friend of both men who was informed about their arrest by telephone.

John Greyson, a Toronto-based filmmaker and York University professor, and Tarek Loubani, an emergency room doctor from London, Ont., were arrested on Friday.

The two men were heading to Gaza, where Greyson was to explore the possibility of making a documentary and Loubani was taking part in a program that involved the training of local doctors.

Justin Podur, a professor at the faculty of environmental studies at York University, confirmed the identities of the two detained men to CBC News.

Egypt's top general calls for end to violence
Podur received a call on Friday evening from Loubani, in which he disclosed that he and Greyson had been detained. They did not provide information on where they were being detained, or if they would be facing charges.

On his website, Podur has posted several updates about his friends.

On Sunday afternoon, Podur posted a message online saying that consular officials had made contact with Greyson and Loubani.

"Tarek and John have both passed messages through consular services that they are okay," Podur wrote.

Earlier Sunday, a spokesperson for Canada’s Foreign Affairs Department confirmed that two Canadians had been detained by police.

But the department did not identify Greyson and Loubani by name.

Spokeswoman Caitlin Workman told CBC News she is "aware that two Canadians were arrested in Egypt," adding, "I can confirm that the Embassy of Canada in Cairo is in contact with local authorities and is providing consular assistance."

Hundreds of people have been killed across Egypt in recent days in clashes between security forces and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, the latter seeking the reinstatement of deposed president Mohammed Morsi, toppled by the army on July 3 after mass demonstrations against him.

A cabinet meeting scheduled Sunday by the military-backed government will study the legal possibilities of once again banning the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, which has been outlawed for most of its 85-year history.

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