Canadians freed in Egypt still face travel ban

The Guardian reports: Two Canadians held without charge inside one of Egypt’s most notorious prisons were released unexpectedly from custody early on Sunday morning.

The renowned film-maker John Greyson and emergency medic Tarek Loubani had been detained for over seven weeks after being arrested while observing protests in Cairo on 16 August. Like many of the protesters arrested that day, they were held on suspicion of murder and intention to kill. In a letter their lawyers later smuggled from prison, the pair said they had been beaten in custody, and were being held in an overcrowded, cockroach-infested cell.

Their release this weekend came as a surprise, coming shortly after Egyptian authorities ordered their detention for another 45 days. Officials had also recently implied the pair had been acting as foreign spies, a symptom of widespread nationalism and xenophobia that has spread across Egypt since the overthrow of ex-president Mohamed Morsi in July.

The news sparked jubilation in Canada, where the pair’s detainment had become a cause célèbre, with Alec Baldwin and Charlize Theron among 150,000 people who had signed a petition calling for their release.

Reuters adds: Two Canadians freed at the weekend after being held in Egypt for more than six weeks without charge are still barred from flying home, their lawyer said on Monday.

“When the men went to the airport they found there was a travel ban with their names on it and so they couldn’t travel and came back to Cairo,” Marwa Farouk, the lawyer representing John Greyson and Tarek Loubani, told Reuters.

“I am appealing to the prosecutor general to lift the travel ban,” said Farouk, who had said the previous day that the Canadians were flying to Toronto after their release.

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