NEWS

Canadians detained in Egypt could be freed tomorrow

08/26/2013 03:01 EDT | Updated 10/26/2013 05:12 EDT
There is a sliver of hope that two Canadians held for the last 10 days in a Cairo jail could be released tomorrow, the sister of one of them says.

Lawyers for Toronto filmmaker John Greyson and London, Ont., doctor Tarek Loubani are scheduled to meet with Egyptian prosecutors on Thursday, but there's a chance the meeting could happen as soon as Tuesday.

"My understanding is that that is an opportunity to meet with a prosecutor and present evidence showing that both John and Tarek were en route to Gaza, their intention was never to stop in the first place in Cairo at all, and that they have no affiliations with any of the situation currently happening in Egypt," said Greyson's sister, Cecilia Greyson.

"We're hoping for a release, of course. That is our hope."

The two men were arrested Aug. 16 while in Cairo on their way to Gaza, where Loubani was going to train emergency room doctors and Greyson was hoping to make a documentary. Egyptian prosecutors accused the men of "participating with members of the Muslim Brotherhood" in an attack on a police station.

Last Tuesday, an Egyptian judge ordered the two men to remain behind bars for another 15 days pending an investigation.

Canadian officials have said it appears the pair were in the wrong place at the wrong time and were scooped up during the mass arrests of anti-government protesters.

"It's simply a case of they went into a police station asking for directions on the wrong day in a very volatile situation, and I think got swept up with things," Cecilia Greyson said. "And I don't know why they continue to be detained, but again, Egypt is in such a state of chaos that I think that has been a factor here."

Greyson said a petition calling for the men's release has collected more than 75,000 signatures. People and organizations from Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and the Canadian Medical Association to the New York Times have weighed in on their behalf.

Canadian diplomats have visited the pair in prison. Greyson said she was told the men are "not in bad shape," considering the crammed conditions in Cairo's jails due to the large numbers of protesters being arrested.

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