NEWS

John Greyson, Tarek Loubani may not be free to leave Egypt

10/07/2013 08:46 EDT | Updated 12/07/2013 05:12 EST
Canada’s Foreign Affairs Ministry says two Canadians released from an Egyptian jail after being held without charge for seven weeks may not be free to leave the country due to an investigation into ongoing charges.

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Greyson, Loubani, released from Egyptian prison.

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Jailed Canadians give account of arrest.

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Jailed Canadians have arres in Egypt extended.

John Greyson, a Toronto filmmaker and York University professor, and Dr. Tarek Loubani of London, Ont., were released from prison on the weekend following their arrest during anti-government demonstrations in Egypt in August.

The pair checked in for a flight to Frankfurt on Sunday, but were prevented from boarding the plane after their names appeared on a "stop list" issued by prosecutors, airport officials said.

The two retrieved their luggage and were free to leave the airport.

Their inclusion on the no-fly list was described Monday as a "bureaucratic glitch" by Greyson’s partner, Stephen Andrews, in an interview on CBC Radio's Metro Morning.

It was thought Greyson and Loubani would be free to return home sometime this week, but on Monday morning, CBC’s Middle East correspondent Sasa Petricic tweeted that may not be the case:

Greyson and Loubani, an emergency ward doctor, were arrested Aug. 16 during the violent demonstrations..

Petricic reported that the pair would have to wait until charges for all 600 protesters arrested with them are decided before leaving.

Could be a 'very long wait'

Lawyers for the two men plan to file a petition to remove their names from list of 600 under investigation for criminal charges so they can leave, Petricic reported.

"It’s not just a question of red tape as we were led to believe originally," Petricic reported Monday on CBC News Network. "They will not be allowed to leave …  until the investigation is over.

"If that needs to run its course, it could be a very long wait even though they are now in a hotel room instead of a jail cell."

The two men's delayed departure is the latest twist in a struggle for their release that their friends and family have described as a "roller-coaster ride."

Loubani travelled to  Egypt to train emergency doctors in Gaza, and Greyson was there to observe and document that work.

Shortly after arriving in the country, the pair attempted to cross the border into Gaza. When they were turned back, they returned to Cairo, where protesters were swarming the streets demanding the release of ousted president Mohammed Morsi.

In a statement issued  from prison last month, the men said they had decided to check out protests that were close to their hotel and saw at least 50 protesters killed. Loubani stopped to treat some injured protesters and Greyson filmed the carnage.

Their statement said that after leaving the scene of the protests, they asked police for directions and were stopped and beaten, and taken into custody.

Subsequently, Egyptian prosecutors accused them of "participating with members of the Muslim Brotherhood" in an attack on a police station, but never laid any charges.

Their arrest triggered a diplomatic push for their release from the Canadian government.

Last month, the Egyptian government announced the detention of Greyson and Loubani had been extended, raising worry among their friends and family. Last weekend came the surprise news that the men had been released, which, Andrews said Monday, had brought a "sense of relief."

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