Video: John Baird discusses efforts to bring Greyson and Loubani back home
Two Canadians imprisoned without charges in Egypt may be facing allegation of murder and “intention to kill,” according to a media report.
The Toronto Star reported Tarek Loubani and John Greyson, who were arrested on Aug. 16 amid violent clashes between Egyptian military forces and protesters loyal to ousted president Mohammed Morsi, are being investigated for several alleged offences, which also include aiding and abetting murder, “terrorizing citizens,” attacking a police station and using explosives against a police station.
Global News attempted to contact Loubani and Greyson’s lawyer in Egypt to confirm these details but attempts to reach him in time for publication were unsuccessful.
The Star reported it obtained the list of charges from a handwritten document that had been signed and thumb-printed by Greyson.
Loubani, an emergency doctor, and Greyson, a Toronto-based filmmaker, have spent 46 days in prison and are currently on a hunger strike in Cairo’s Tora prison.
READ MORE: Who are John Greyson and Tarek Loubani?
The pair said they were headed to Gaza, via Egypt, where Greyson planned to shoot a documentary about Loubani’s volunteer work at the Al-Shifa Hospital.
They were unable to cross into the Palestinian territory because the border with Egypt was closed. In a statement publicized on Saturday, Greyson and Loubani said while staying in Cairo they decided to check out the protests held in response to the military coup that toppled Morsi’s government.
“The protest was just starting – peaceful chanting, the faint odour of tear gas, a helicopter lazily circling overhead – when suddenly calls of ‘doctor.’ A young man carried by others from God-knows-where, bleeding from a bullet wound. Tarek snapped into doctor mode…and started to work doing emergency response, trying to save lives, while John did video documentation, shooting a record of the carnage that was unfolding,” their statement read.
They said they left the scene of the protests, in Cairo’s Ramses Square, when they felt it would be safe to go back to their hotel. They asked police for help finding their way to the hotel, but were arrested.
“That’s when we were: arrested, searched, caged, questioned, interrogated, videotaped with a ‘Syrian terrorist’, slapped, beaten, ridiculed, hot-boxed, refused phone calls, stripped, shaved bald, accused of being foreign mercenaries,” they detailed in the statement.
Egyptian authorities extended their detention on Sunday for another 45 days.
Canadian officials have called for their release. Speaking on Global‘s The West Block on Sunday, Foreign Minister John Baird said he got a “favourable response on a political level” from his Egyptian counterpart when they met over the weekend.
“I talked to the Egyptian foreign minister three times over the last week,” he said. “We spent more than an hour together on Friday evening and we’re doing all we can to push for (the detained Canadians’) immediate release and try to get them out of the country as soon as possible.”
While Baird assured the Canadian government is taking “every action” to secure Loubani’s and Greyson’s release, he said “this is a more complex case than I think many Canadians understand.”
*With files from Amy Minsky and The Canadian Press