Michael Riordon

the view from where I live

Free John Greyson & Dr Tarek Loubani: sample open letter for small communities

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As residents of Prince Edward-Hastings riding in Ontario, Canada, we call on you to exercise your influence and responsibility in the following matter of urgent concern to all of us.

As of October 1, Canadian citizens John Greyson and Dr Tarek Loubani have already been imprisoned for 46 days by the military government in Egypt.  This past weekend their imprisonment was extended once again, for an additional 45 days.  They have not been charged with any offence.

In contravention of international law, the Egyptian military regime claims the right to hold them without charge for as long as two years.

We are encouraged to hear that the Prime Minister finally told Canadian media on Sunday, “In the absence of charges, Dr. Loubani and Mr. Greyson should be released immediately.”  This is a step in the right direction, but given the life-threatening circumstances it’s inadequate.  The Prime Minister should be speaking directly to his counterpart in Egypt, demanding that these two Canadian citizens be released immediately and allowed to return safely to Canada.

John Greyson is an award-winning film and video maker, Dr Tarek Loubani an emergency room physician in London, Ontario.  Both of them teach at universities in Toronto and London.  Each is highly respected in his field.  On the night of their detention, Dr Loubani was doing what his professional oath as an MD requires of him, helping people who’d been injured in protests.  John Greyson was doing what he intended to do on this trip, documenting Dr Loubani’s work.

To protest both the injustice and deplorable conditions of their detention, they are now in the second week of a hunger strike.  Each day that passes, their health is at greater risk.

Amnesty International has called for their immediate release.  More than 140,000 people have signed an international petition demanding their immediate release.  Their release has also been demanded by the Ontario & Canadian Medical Associations, the United Church of Canada, the Presidents of York, Ryerson, Queen’s and Wilfred Laurier Universities, and many other organizations and individuals.

We call on the Prime Minister of Canada to make the same demand, immediately and directly to the appropriate Egyptian authorities.

(Signed by 146 residents of Prince Edward-Hastings riding, Ontario, Canada, and delivered to the local Member of Parliament)

Author: Michael Riordon

Canadian writer and documentary-maker Michael Riordon writes/ directs/produces books and articles, audio, video and film documentaries, plays for radio and stage. A primary goal of his work is to recover voices and stories of people who have been silenced or marginalized, written out of the official version: First Nations (aboriginal) youth, Mozambican farmers, inmates in Canadian prisons, traditional healers in Fiji, queer folk across Canada, Guatemalan labour activists. Michael also leads courses, workshops and seminars for community organizations, trade unions, schools, colleges and universities.

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