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John Greyson, Tarek Loubani to return from Egypt Friday night

QMI Agency

Supporters listen to speeches at a rally calling for the government to help free Londoner Dr. Tarek Loubani and Toronto filmmaker John Greyson from an Egyptian jail on Tuesday, September 24, 2013. (CRAIG GLOVER / QMI AGENCY)

Supporters listen to speeches at a rally calling for the government to help free Londoner Dr. Tarek Loubani and Toronto filmmaker John Greyson from an Egyptian jail on Tuesday, September 24, 2013. (CRAIG GLOVER / QMI AGENCY)

After being held in a Cairo prison for seven weeks, John Greyson and Tarek Loubani will arrive in Toronto Friday night, according to a statement from the pair.

“It’s over. At 9:40 a.m., Cairo local time, we took off from Cairo international airport on a flight back home. We will arrive at Toronto’s Pearson at 7:25 p.m. on flight AC 877,” the statement reads.

“We cannot wait to see our families, who will be waiting for us in the city where we can share hugs, tears and laughs privately. We can’t wait!”

Greyson, a Toronto-based filmmaker, and Loubani, an emergency room doctor based in London, Ont., were released from Cairo's notorious Tora prison on Oct. 6, after they were picked up in violent street clashes mid-August. They were prevented from boarding a plane after their name appeared on a no-fly list issues by Egyptian prosecutors.

On Thursday, the pair was given approval by the Egyptian government to leave the country.

“Our thoughts remain with the 600 detainees arrested on the same day as us and their families. We make the same demand for them on day No. 54 of their detention that you made for us: Charge them or free them so they can have their day of hugs, tears and laughs soon, too," Greyson and Loubani said in the statement.

Canada's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Lynne Yelich issued a statement Friday morning saying Canada joins the families of Loubani and Greyson in welcoming their return.

Yelich also thanked the Government of Egypt for "its considerable assistance in the matter and for providing regular consular access."

“I would also like to thank Canada’s Ambassador to Egypt, along with his consular team, who provided ongoing support and assistance to Dr. Loubani and Mr. Greyson, as well as to their families.

Loubani and Greyson were arrested Aug. 16 during violent street clashes in the days following the military ouster of the country's first freely elected president, Mohamed Mursi.

Held for 50 days in Cairo's notorious Tora prison, it was only through family, friends and supporters that news about the men got out.

Toward the end of their captivity, which included a hunger strike, a statement released from the two men said they witnessed the deaths of more than 50 protesters.

They said Loubani helped treat the wounded while Greyson shot video of the deadly clashes.

They also described horrifying conditions in the prison.

Loubani and Greyson were on their way in mid-August to Gaza, where Loubani was on a medical mission and Greyson planned to film it, when they were arrested.

They were never charged.

Their cause drew international attention and nearly 150,000 individuals signed a petition calling for their release.


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