Canadians Tarek Loubani and John Greyson released from Egyptian jail
Published Saturday, October 5, 2013 10:59PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, October 6, 2013 12:35AM EDT
Two Canadians who have been detained in an Egyptian jail for more than seven weeks without charges have been released.
In a statement released late Saturday night, Minister of State Lynne Yelich said the Canadian government welcomed a decision to release Tarek Loubani and John Greyson, who were arrested Aug.16 during a violent protest in Cairo.
“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,” Yelich said.
Greyson, a Toronto filmmaker, and Loubani, a doctor from London, Ont., were passing through Egypt while en route to Gaza when authorities arrested them on Aug. 16.
The pair was detained without charges for nearly two months, which sparked major diplomatic efforts by Canadian officials to secure their release.
In a phone interview with CTV’s Omar Sachedina on Saturday night, Greyson’s sister Cecilia said she spoke briefly with her brother, who is now in a Cairo hotel room with Loubani.
Cecilia Greyson said the two men are safe and in good health.
She said their sudden release caught her brother by surprise.
“He was really surprised. He didn’t know it was happening until it happened, she said. “It happened really quickly.”
Yelich said Saturday the government was working to facilitate Greyson and Loubani’s departure from Egypt.
In a tweet, the pair’s friend Justin Podur said the men were awaiting passports in Egypt.
“When they get them we will get them booked on a flight home,” Podur tweeted.
Podur also thanked those who worked to help free Loubani and Greyson.
In a statement made public last week, the Ontario men described the “ridiculous conditions” of their detention and called on authorities to set them free.
Both Loubani and Greyson went on a hunger strike for about two weeks to call attention to their imprisonment and poor treatment in Cairo's notorious Tora prison.
There were no immediate details Saturday on what prompted the pair’s release.
thank you everyone for help. with everyone together we managed to #freetarekandjohn— Justin Podur (@justinpodur) October 6, 2013
they are awaiting passports and when they get them we will get them booked on a flight home. #freetarekandjohn— Justin Podur (@justinpodur) October 6, 2013
Great work Lynne! RT @Lynne_Yelich: 1/ Canada welcomes the decision to release Dr. Loubani and Mr. Greyson."— John Baird (@HonJohnBaird) October 6, 2013