The detainment of filmmaker John Greyson and physician Tarek Loubani in an Egyptian prison has just taken an alarming turn. Starting today, they are now on a hunger strike “to protest the arbitrary nature of their detention by Egyptian authorities,” reports author Justin Podur. “Greyson and Loubani, who were transiting through Cairo on their way to Gaza where Loubani was carrying on a medical aid project, and Greyson was preparing for a film project, have been detained in Cairo’s Tora prison for the past 31 days. During that time, Egyptian officials have not provided any reason for the ongoing detention.”
Awareness of Greyson and Loubani’s plight has been building slowly over the past month, with concern growing particularly acute in just the past week or so. At the Toronto film festival, Sarah Polley, Michael Ondaatje, Alex Gibney, Atom Egoyan, and TIFF Lightbox’s Noah Cowan joined Greyson’s sister, Cecilia Greyson, to draw attention to the case. On Friday, Amnesty International issued an urgent call to action. And a petition calling on the Canadian government to demand Greyson and Loubani’s release has gathered over 115,000 signatures—and counting.