Screen shot from Bring' em Back

Filmmaker John Greyson and Dr. Tarek Loubani have gone on hunger strike to protest the arbitrary nature of their detention by Egyptian authorities. They have been held with no clear indication why since August 16th, along with hundreds of other Egyptians and foreign nationals round up in civil unrest.

From TarekandJohn.com we learn:

They were en route to the Gaza Strip, where they are working on an academic and medical collaboration between the University of Western Ontario (UWO) and the main hospital in the Gaza Strip, the al-Shifa hospital.
John and Tarek arrived in Cairo on August 15 with the intention of traveling to Gaza immediately. Given the volatile situation in Egypt, travel to the border with Gaza was problematic and they delayed their travel plan by one day.
We have heard through sources in Cairo that John and Tarek entered a police station on Friday evening, as they were lost and needed help with directions back to their hotel. At this point they were promptly arrested. At 4pm Toronto time (10pm Cairo time), Tarek called his primary contact in Canada with the very short message: “we are being arrested by Egyptian police”.
Since their arrest, we have had no contact with either Tarek or John. Canadian consular officials have visited them where they are being held, and we have been told that they are “okay”.

From Amnesty International:

After their arrest, a Public Prosecutor ordered that the men be held for 15 days, while he investigated the charges that they were involved in “destroying public property”, “violence”, “carrying weapons” and “inciting violence”. The Public Prosecutor then renewed the detention order for a further 15 days on or around 3 August to continue the investigation.
The men are being held with hundreds of Egyptians who were arrested during the clashes on 16 August, as well as other foreign nationals caught up in the violence. Amnesty International is concerned that, as with the hundreds of others arrested that day, the men have been charged with a broad array of offences without apparent consideration of their individual criminal responsibility.

Amnesty is calling on concerned citizens to write immediately (before OCTOBER 25th) in Arabic, English or your own language:

  • Urging the Egyptian authorities to release Tarek Loubani and John Greyson, unless they have sufficient admissible evidence to try them before a civilian court in line with international fair trial standards and without recourse to the death penalty;
  • Asking the Egyptian authorities to continue to give the men access to their lawyers, families and consular representatives.
SEND APPEALS TO:
Interim President
Adly Mahmoud Mansour Office of the President
Al Ittihadia Palace
Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt
Fax: 011 202 2 391 1441
Salutation: Your Excellency
Send copies to:
Minister of Defence
General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi
Ministry of Defense
Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt
Fax: 011 202 2 290 6004
(Fax/Phoneline) 011 202 2 291 6227
Salutation: Dear General
Public Prosecutor
Hesham Mohamed Zaki Barakat
Office of the Public Prosecutor Supreme Court House, 1 “26 July” Road Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt
Fax: 011 202 2 577 4716
011 202 2 575 7165(switched off after office hours, GMT+2)
Salutation: Dear Counselor
Ambassador Sameh Shoukry, Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
3521 International Ct NW, Washington DC 20008-2023
Fax: 1 202 244 4319 -OR- 202 244 5131│Email: Embassy@egyptembassy.net

At Visual AIDS we believe justice is a form of HIV prevention and vital to reducing the stigma related to, and exasperated by the ongoing epidemic. While for some this might not be an obvious position to take, for others it is a given.

It is a given for Greyson, who has been making films and participating in actions for over twenty years that have been an embodiment to the interconnections between HIV and global justice - most notably his films Zero Patience, a musical about AIDS which problematizes the idea of "Patient Zero"; and Fig Trees, an opera about the lives of legendary activists Tim McKaskel (Toronto) and Zackie Achmet (South Africa).

We at Visual AIDS feel that it is important we join the many groups around the world—including Amnesty International, and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association—calling for the release of Greyson and Loubani. Many of our collaborators and friends are impacted by their detention and have been working hard for their release. We work in solidarity with them. This video in support of their release was produced by artist member Vincent Chevalier: Bring ' em Back!

For more information download the Amnesty URGENT ACTION pdf.

Vincent Chevalier