Canadian duo 'beaten in Cairo jail'
Published 29/09/2013 | 02:26
Two Canadians on hunger strike in an Egyptian prison have said they were beaten and subjected to degrading treatment since being detained at the height of the violent protests in Cairo.
Tarek Loubani and John Greyson issued a statement saying they had been held in prison since August 16 with no access to phone calls. They say they are sharing a tiny cockroach-infested cell with 36 other political prisoners and sleeping on concrete.
The statement was dictated to their lawyers and published on their friend Justin Podur's website, which is dedicated to their release. The two men have not been charged.
Mr Loubani, a doctor, and Mr Greyson, a film-maker, were trying to make their way to Gaza where Mr Loubani was to teach A and E medicine and Mr Greyson was considering producing a documentary.
The pair said they went to watch the protests a few streets from their hotel on August 15 and witnessed dozens of protesters being brutally killed.
"That's when we were: arrested, searched, caged, questioned, interrogated, videotaped with a 'Syrian terrorist', slapped, beaten, ridiculed, hot-boxed, refused phone calls, stripped, shaved bald, accused of being foreign mercenaries," the statement said.
The pair had only planned an overnight stay in Cairo on August 15 before heading to Gaza but they could not get across the border due to the outbreak of protests in Cairo and across the country the following day.
The two men are on day 12 of a hunger strike to protest against their detention. Mr Greyson's sister Cecilia said Canadian consular officials visited the men two days ago and told her they were in "good health" but were tired and showing visible signs of weight loss.
Canadian foreign minister John Baird said he raised their case in a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart on Friday night.