John Greyson & Tarek Loubani set to return to Toronto
John Greyson, a York professor and award winning filmmaker, and Tarek Loubani, professor and doctor, are finally coming home tonight after being held in Egypt for 50 days. The two men were arrested after asking for directions during a stopover in Cairo during its violent August riots. 149,842 names were added to a petition demanding their release with the help of website tarekandjohn.com. Greyson and Loubani, who were on a hunger strike for over two weeks in late September, experienced terrible conditions while in Torah prison, which is located on the outskirts of Cairo, including being beaten, refused phone calls, stripped, and shaved bald.
Greyson and Loubani have released an official statement on their homecoming:
"It's over. At 9:40 a.m., Cairo local time, we took off from Cairo international airport on a flight back home. We will arrive at Toronto's Pearson at 7:25 p.m. on flight AC 877. We cannot wait to see our families, who will be waiting for us in the city where we can share hugs, tears and laughs privately. We can't wait!
Our thoughts remain with the 600 detainees arrested on the same day as us and their families. We make the same demand for them on day #54 of their detention that you made for us: Charge them or free them so they can have their day of hugs, tears and laughs soon, too."
Greyson and Loubani had been on route to a hospital Gaza, where Greyson planned to document where Loubani's work teaching emergency medicine. After they were freed from prison they were surprised to find out about the massive campaigns to bring them home. Together they made a short, touching video thanking everyone for their support.
Due to a technicality they had to remain in Egypt for several days before being cleared to leave the country. While Egypt remains in turmoil, Canadians can breathe a sigh of relief to know that Greyson and Loubani have made it through the ordeal mostly unharmed, and will be back on Canadian soil this evening.