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Egyptian authorities release Canadians detained at August protests

Published: Updated:

Canada’s Foreign Affairs department announced late Saturday the release of two Canadians held without charges in an Egyptian prison since political clashes in mid-August.

John Greyson is a Toronto filmmaker and university professor, while Tarek Loubani is an emergency room doctor from London, Ontario.

Lynne Yelich, a Canadian minister of consular affairs, said Canada welcomes the decision to release the two men, the Associated Press reported.

The men were detained since mid-August without charge after trying to enter Gaza, where Greyson was on the lookout for a documentary and Loubani planned to help train local doctors.

But they were turned back at the Gaza border and later arrested following a protest in Cairo after Loubani began treating wounded demonstrators, while Greyson recorded the unrest on video, according to Agence France Presse.

The pair released a statement a week ago saying they were beaten and subjected to degrading treatment.

They began a hunger strike on Sept. 15, to protest their detainment, but ended it a couple of days ago after winning small concessions from their jailers, a relative of one of the men said Thursday, according to AFP.

The pair had also released a statement saying Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird warned Egypt that the detention was a significant threat to relations between the two countries, according to The Associated Press.

“Minister Baird and I were in contact with senior Egyptian officials on numerous occasions concerning this case, and the Embassy of Canada to Egypt worked tirelessly to secure their release,” Yelich said in a statement.

The statement added that Canadian officials are facilitating the departure of Loubani and Greyson from Egypt, and will continue to offer consular services to them.

(With AFP and The Associated Press)