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Gay Filmmaker John Greyson and ER Doctor Tarek Loubani Freed by Captors in Egypt

John Greyson and Dr.Tarek Loubani, who have been detained in Egypt and held in horrid condidtions since August 16, when they were held during violent anti-government protests in Cairo, have been freed, the AP reports:

Greyson_loubani“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,” Lynne Yelich, a junior minister responsible for consular affairs said in a statement late Saturday.

Mr. Greyson and Mr. Loubani were released Sunday morning — Cairo time — but there has been no confirmed word on exactly when they will be returning to Canada.

There was no immediate comment on their release from the two men’s families.

Mr. Greyson, a Toronto filmmaker and Mr. Loubani, an emergency room doctor from London, Ont. have said they planned to stay in the Egyptian capital only briefly on their way to Gaza last month.

Friends and family have been campaigning for their release and last week published a letter written by the men from the jail where they were being held. It described their arrest and the beatings they endured.

Egypt Extends Detention of Gay Filmmaker John Greyson and ER Doctor Tarek Loubani for Another 45 Days

Gay Canadian filmmaker John Greyson and Tarek Loubani, an ER doctor, who were detained on August 18 in Egypt while filming a documentary during the security crackdown by the military-led government and held without charges since then, are to be held for another 45 days, according to friends and family campaigning for their release:

Greyson_loubaniAn Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman, speaking to Reuters, confirmed the men would be charged with “participating in an illegal demonstration”. The spokesman, in the same interview, indicated that prosecutors were considering espionage charges against the two Canadians based on “surveillance equipment” they found in their possession.

Canada's Prime Minister has called for their immediate release.

The  filmmakers began a hunger strike nearly two weeks ago, and wrote a letter released by relatives and friends detailing the abuse and "ridiculous conditions" of their detention.

The letter was written from a jail cell in Cairo where they are being held. The letter describes the details of their arrest and beatings they have endured:

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. The wounded and dying never stopped coming. Between us, we saw over fifty Egyptians die: students, workers, professionals, professors, all shapes, all ages, unarmed. We later learned the body count for the day was 102.

We left in the evening when it was safe, trying to get back to our hotel on the Nile. We stopped for ice cream. We couldn’t find a way through the police cordon though, and finally asked for help at a check point.

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. Was it our Canadian passports, or the footage of Tarek performing C.P.R., or our ice cream wrappers that set them off? They screamed ‘Canadian’ as they kicked and hit us. John had a precisely etched bootprint bruise on his back for a week.

We were two of 602 people arrested that night, all 602 potentially facing the same grab-bag of ludicrous charges: arson, conspiracy, terrorism, possession of weapons, firearms, explosives, attacking a police station.

Greyson is perhaps best known for his criticism of the Toronto International Film Festival for "for celebrating films from Tel Aviv. Greyson withdrew his own film from the festival, criticizing Israel's settlement strategy in Gaza," according to Yahoo News.

Read the filmmakers' full letter, AFTER THE JUMP...

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