Acclaimed gay filmmaker John Greyson and Dr. Tarek Loubani — the subject of a documentary he had been making — have been held without cause in Cairo, Egypt for over a month and have recently begun a hunger strike in protest.
Greyson is known for gay-themed films such as Zero Patience, Lilies, Uncut and Proteus, as well as for directing episodes of Queer as Folk. A Toronto native, Greyson is also a professor at York University. He and Loubani, a doctor from London, Ontario who teaches emergency room medicine at Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza, were on their way to the Gaza Strip. They were arrested after stopping into a police station to ask directions on August 16 and have yet to be charged with any crime. Greyson and Loubani’s detention was then extended on September 15.
The following day at a press conference, Greyson’s sister Cecilia released a statement announcing Greyson and Loubani’s hunger strike.
“They will be refusing food beginning September the 16th to protest the arbitrary nature of their detention by Egyptian authorities,” the release said. “We can only imagine the anguish that John and Tarek feel after realizing that their detention could be extended for so long in what can only be described as an arbitrary process that lacks any credibility.”
At the Toronto International Film Festival, over 300 artists including Ben Affleck, Alec Baldwin and Charlize Theron had signed a letter of support calling for the release of the captive Canadians. A website has been set up to provide information and resources along with a petition that has been signed by over 100,000 people.