A travel ban has been lifted on two Canadians prevented from leaving Egypt following their release from seven weeks’ imprisonment without charge.
A spokesman for Egypt’s foreign ministry Badr Abdelatty said Thursday that the pair has been cleared to leave Egypt and were welcome to return in the future.
Tarek Loubani and John Greyson were released from the maximum-security Tora prison, south of Cairo, on Oct. 7. Hours after their release, however, they were prevented from boarding a flight to Frankfurt after officials at Cairo International Airport found their names were on a no-fly list.
Speaking to The Globe and Mail, Mr. Abdelatty said investigations carried out by the prosecutor general’s office had determined that the two men would not be charged, as earlier threatened, with terrorism-related offences.
He said that the lifting of the travel ban, and the end of the investigation, was not the result of political pressure. Stressing the independence of the Egyptian judiciary, he said: “The decision to release them [from Tora Prison] and not to let them leave the country was taken by the public prosecutor. When he decided there was no specific charge to lay against them, he decided to allow them to leave the country.”
Late Monday, Marwa Farouk, a lawyer acting for the men, submitted a request to the general prosecutor to lift the travel ban. Since their release from prison on Sunday, the two are believed to have been staying either in the Canadian embassy or in an embassy residence. On Wednesday, they released an upbeat 66-second video, posted to YouTube, thanking the supporters who had pressed for their release.
Ms. Farouk declined Thursday to confirm if the men’s travel ban had been lifted. She told the Globe she was not free to speak to the media. Asked if she was complying with an official Egyptian government request, she said that she was following the direction of her clients, “Tarek and John.”
As recently as Tuesday, officials at Egypt’s Interior Ministry told the Globe that “investigations” into the case were continuing.
Mr. Greyson and Dr. Loubani were arrested on the night of Aug. 16, after fierce clashes between security forces and supporters of the ousted Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi in central Cairo.
The men had arrived in Cairo only the day before, en route, they said, to Hamas-controlled Gaza, on Egypt’s eastern border along the Mediterranean coast.