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Gay filmmaker John Greyson arrested and detained in Egyptian prison

Authorities are still holding two Canadians detained in Cairo after Egypt's “Day of Rage,” including noted Toronto gay filmmaker John Greyson.

While the prison where the two are being held has already begun releasing some prisoners, it's not clear when the two will be freed. A friend of both tweeted that Canadian consular services had visited the two and is still seeking information about the charges.

Greyson is being held alongside Tarek Loubani, who was en route to a Gaza hospital where he is participating in a medical exchange organized by the University of Western Ontario. Greyson, who has frequently spoken out about Israeli human rights abuses, was tagging along to shoot footage.

“We are very concerned about John’s safety,” said relatives Cecilia Greyson and Stephen Andrews, in a statement.

An Arabic-language statement from the Egyptian Cinematic Syndicate — which called for Greyson's release — reported that the two had been arrested for allegedly trying to storm the Azbakiya police station.

The efforts to releaser the duo may be hobbled, as Ottawa closed its embassy amidst the violence, sending home all non-essential staff.

The two were picked up amidst violent clashes between police and supporters of ousted Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, which have left more than 600 dead in recent days, including a Toronto man who was shot by a sniper. Police arrested more than 1,000 others alongside the pair on Aug 16.

Mohammed Loubani, Tarek's brother, commented on the situation in Egypt in a statement released by a friend of the two. “We recognize that Egypt is going through a painful transition, but arresting a physician and filmmaker and detaining them without due process is clearly a step in the wrong direction.

The Egyptian transitional government has frequently repeated its commitment to democratic values and the rule of law. The continued detention of John and Tarek clearly falls short of that commitment.”

by Anonymousreply 108/21/2013

It must be awful to be stuck in an Egyptian prison for no reason. At the same time, what was he doing walking around Cairo after curfew? There is an arrogance there that needs to be addressed. Also, he went to a police station to ask for directions in a police state in the middle of a police crackdown in which thousands of people have been murdered and illegally detained. What kind of identification with the police does that reveal? Too bad Greyson wasn't arrested for doing something positive, like providing humanitarian aid. I hope this experience makes him ask himself some questions about how he sees himself in relationship to other people.

by Anonymousreply 108/21/2013
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