Egypt Releases 2 Detained Canadians

Egypt's military-backed authorities have released two Canadians held without charge for seven weeks, the Canadian government says.

Kochava Rozenbaum ,

Demonstrators and police clash in Cairo
Demonstrators and police clash in Cairo
AFP photo

Canada's Foreign Affairs department said late Saturday that two Canadians held without charges for the past several weeks in Egypt have been released from prison, the Associated Press reports. 

Lynne Yelich, a Canadian minister of consular affairs, said Canada welcomes the decision to release John Greyson, a filmmaker and professor, and Dr. Tarek Loubani, a physician.

The pair has been held without charges since mid-August and were accused of taking part in deadly political clashes in Cairo. The men say they were observing an anti-government demonstration on August 16 when Loubani heeded a call for a doctor and began treating wounded demonstrators while Greyson recorded the unrest on video.

The pair released a statement a week ago saying they were beaten and subjected to degrading treatment. Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird warned Egypt that the detention was a significant threat to relations between the two countries.

"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 said Canadian officials are facilitating the departure of Loubani and Greyson from Egypt, and will continue to offer consular services to them.

Their releases come hours before fresh demonstrations are expected in central Cairo. Supporters and opponents of ousted President Mohammed Morsi have said they will take to the streets on Sunday, after the deadliest violence in weeks left four people dead Friday.

Tahrir Square is once again likely to be the center point of Egypt's crisis, as hundreds of thousands of people are expected to gather to mark the 40th anniversary of the 1973 Yom Kippur War.