Egypt-held Canadians Tarek Loubani, John Greyson plan hunger strike
Men have been held over a month without formal charges
Two Canadians who have been detained in an Egyptian prison for over a month are going on a hunger strike.
Dr. Tarek Loubani of London, Ont., and John Greyson of Toronto were arrested in Cairo on Aug. 16. They have yet to face formal charges.
Greyson's sister, Cecilia, and a friend of the Canadians, Justin Podur, released a statement on Monday that said the men had informed friends and supporters through their Egyptian lawyers of the decision to go on a hunger strike.
"They will be refusing food beginning September the 16th to protest the arbitrary nature of their detention by Egyptian authorities," the release said.
We know that they did not take the decision to begin a hunger strike lightly, and we want them to know we will do everything we can to support them and get them home soon.- Cecilia Greyson, sister of detained Canadian
On Sunday, Podur told CBC News that "detention has been extended … for 15 days" for Greyson and Loubani.
Loubani and Greyson, a filmmaker and university professor, had been intending to make their way to Gaza last month when they were arrested.
“We can only imagine the anguish that John and Tarek feel after realizing that their detention could be extended for so long in what can only be described as an arbitrary process that lacks any credibility,” Cecilia said on Monday.
Monday's release said it's believed the Canadians' detention could be extended up to two years without any charges being laid.
“We know that they did not take the decision to begin a hunger strike lightly, and we want them to know we will do everything we can to support them and get them home soon," Cecilia said.
Government 'shares concern; of families
Lynne Yelich, Canada's junior foreign affairs minister, expressed the government's "disappointment" after hearing the detention had being extended.
"Canada shares the concern of the families and friends of Dr. Loubani and Mr. Greyson in this matter and, in the absence of confirmation of the charges, continues to call for their release," she said in a statement released Sunday.
Foreign Affairs Department officials have said they believe Loubani and Greyson were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time when they were detained.
Early unconfirmed reports indicated the Canadians were arrested after entering a police station to ask for directions to their hotel.
About 115,000 people have signed an online petition demanding the release of the two men.