Canadian filmmaker John Greyson (pictured) and doctor Tarek Loubani, who have been imprisoned in Egypt since August 16, have had their detention extended for another 45 days, pending charges.
Greyson, whose doc Fig Trees won a Teddy Award for Best Documentary at the 59th Berlin International Film Festival, was en route to Gaza with Loubani, an Ontario-based emergency room doctor, when the pair became stranded in Egypt last month, amid civil unrest in the country.
Egyptian prosecutors have accused Loubani and Greyson of “participating with members of the Muslim Brotherhood” in an attack on a police station, which the men deny. No charges have been filed against the pair as of yet.
In a statement, released to Canadian press over the weekend, the pair say they have been beaten, stripped, have had their heads shaven, and are being forced to sleep on a concrete floor with cockroaches. Both men have been on hunger strikes for 12 days.
A statement issued from Canada’s Prime Minister’s Office on Sunday said: “In the absence of charges, Dr. Loubani and Mr. Greyson should be released immediately.”
The news comes after an array of documentary filmmakers and industry figures – including directors Sarah Polley and Alex Gibney – organized a press conference at TIFF earlier this month demanding the release of the two men.
Jehane Noujaim, director of Egypt-focused documentary The Square, dedicated her TIFF People’s Choice Documentary Award victory to the two men.