A mutual friend of two Canadian men detained in Egypt says they are going to be held for at least 15 more days, an outcome that Ottawa’s junior foreign affairs minister says is disappointing.
Tarek Loubani of London, Ont., and John Greyson of Toronto were detained in Cairo on Aug. 16. They have yet to face formal charges.
On Sunday, Justin Podur, a friend of the Canadians held in Egypt, told CBC News that "their detention has been extended…for 15 days."
Loubani, a doctor, and Greyson, a filmmaker and university professor, had been intending to make their way to Gaza.
Foreign Affairs officials have said they believe Loubani and Greyson were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time when they were detained.
Lynne Yelich, the junior foreign affairs minister, said the government was "disappointed" to learn that the two Ontario men will continue to be held in custody.
"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," Yelich said in a statement released Sunday.
On Sunday afternoon, Podur sent out a separate statement to the media, providing more information about Loubani and Greyson's situation, as well as comment from their families.
The release indicated that Mohamed Heta, the Cairo district prosecutor, had made the announcement that he would extend the detention of the Canadian men for another 15 days.
"We are obviously extremely saddened to hear about the extension," Cecilia Greyson, the sister of the detained filmmaker, said in the release, "but just as importantly, we are now certain that John and Tarek’s detention is completely arbitrary, and the process they face lacks any semblance of fairness or credibility."
Mohammed Loubani questioned why Egypt feels the need to keep his brother and Greyson in custody.
"Tarek and John have answered every question that has been put to them and now it is time for the Egyptian authorities to do the same," Loubani said.
"Why is Egypt detaining a prominent Canadian filmmaker, and a physician on his way to provide medical aid in Gaza?"