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network 02/10/2013 - 01:00PM

CP Filmmaker John Greyson and physician Tarek Loubani held in Cairo Prison

John Greyson with Alanis Obomsawin

John Greyson was the recipient of Cinema Politica's inaugral Alanis Obomsawin Award for Committment to Community and Resistance, given to the filmmaker, professor and activist in 2010 for his unstoppable efforts of combining documentary and social justice. John is a dear friend, an amazingly talented and generous filmmaker, and a lifelong committed activist.

We are deeply troubled by his situation in Cairo, and are asking that everyone please take action in calling for his, and colleague Tarke Loubani's, immediate release. The two recently ended a two week hunger strike and have released a letter about the inhumane conditions under which they are currently being held.

There is a website set up for their campaign here, please consider taking action immediately. From the site:

Two Canadians, Dr. Tarek Loubani and filmmaker John Greyson, were arrested by Egyptian police on Friday, August 16 in Cairo.

They were en route to the Gaza Strip, where they are working on an academic and medical collaboration between the University of Western Ontario (UWO) and the main hospital in the Gaza Strip, the al-Shifa hospital.

John and Tarek arrived in Cairo on August 15 with the intention of traveling to Gaza immediately. Given the volatile situation in Egypt, travel to the border with Gaza was problematic and they delayed their travel plan by one day.

We have heard through sources in Cairo that John and Tarek entered a police station on Friday evening, as they were lost and needed help with directions back to their hotel. At this point they were promptly arrested.  At 4pm Toronto time (10pm Cairo time), Tarek called his primary contact in Canada with the very short message: “we are being arrested by Egyptian police”.

Since their arrest, we have had no contact with either Tarek or John. Canadian consular officials have visited them where they are being held, and we have been told that they are “okay”.

Beyond this, we have currently not been able to confirm their status or condition, or speak to them directly. We are asking Egyptian authorities to release John and Tarek immediately.

We know there are many people eagerly awaiting news and their release, and we will distribute information as we know more.