Will Egypt Release Gay Filmmaker?
By Andrew Belonsky
(John Greyson, left, and Dr. Tarek Loubani, right.)
On August 16th, filmmaker John Greyson and Dr. Tarek Loubani were traveling through Egypt to the Gaza Strip, where Loubani hoped to lend his medical expertise and Greyson hoped to capture the moments for a film he's working on. But the men, stopping at a check point past curfew, were detained, and have been held, uncharged, for over a month.
Greyson, director of the 1996 gays-in-prison film Lilies, as well as some episodes of Queer as Folk, and Loubani have been on a hunger striker since September 16, 11 days ago, a strike meant to protest their unfair, unexplained, and ongoing detention. So far the duo's original 15-day detention has been extended twice. But now it seems there's a ray of light: the men attended a hearing in Tora, Egypt, yesterday, an the Egyptian judiciary seemed "responsive" to their plight, says their lawyer, Khaled El Shalakany
Shalakany also again maintained his the mens's innocence. "John and Tarek are innocent,” he said. “They were caught up in a very serious crisis in Egypt’s modern history, and were at the wrong place at the wrong time." The Canadian government has been sending diplomats to check on the men, and while the imprisoned gents are tired and scared, officials say they're optimistic they'll be released soon.