Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Canadians arrested, held in Cairo prison

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TORONTO -- A friend of two Canadians who were arrested in Cairo says consular staff told him the pair were fine but still hadn't heard if they were being charged.

Justin Podur said Canadian consular staff told him they had seen Toronto-based filmmaker and York University professor John Greyson and Tarek Loubani, an emergency room doctor in London, Ont. The pair were being held in a Cairo prison.

The two Canadians were in Egyptian capital en route to Gaza when they were arrested by police amid the deadly turmoil affecting the country's capital, said Podur, who is a friend and colleague of both men.

Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Caitlin Workman confirmed two Canadians have been arrested and says Canada's embassy in Cairo is in contact with local authorities and is providing consular assistance.

Lynne Yelich, the minister of state for consular affairs, issued a statement Sunday evening saying she was very concerned about the arrests and has demanded more information.

"I spoke with a senior Egyptian official to request confirmation of the nature of the charges and call for all evidence against the two Canadians be released," the statement said.

Podur said that consular staff informed him they would be checking on the two Canadians again today.

Podur says Western University in London, Ont., has a collaboration program bringing doctors to Gaza to train doctors there and advance cardiac and trauma life support.

He says Greyson was travelling to explore the possibility of making a documentary about Al Shifa hospital in Gaza.

The two men arrived in Cairo on Aug. 15 but their journey to Gaza was delayed due to unrest.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 19, 2013 A12

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