London emergency room doctor Tarek Loubani and Toronto filmmaker John Greyson have been freed from a Cairo prison where they have been held since Aug 16, reports the London Free Press.
As of this writing, the two had not been granted transit out of Egypt, however. They were blocked from boarding a plane earlier today and remain in Cairo, albeit not in custody. What follows is an initial account of the news of their release from jail.
“We’re over the moon,” Cecilia Greyson told the Free Press Saturday evening. Greyson said she spoke to her brother John Greyson about 11 p.m., confirming that the two had been released. “They are doing really well,” Cecilia Greyson said. The pair are now in a Cairo hotel and will be returning to Canada once arrangements have been completed. Mohammed Loubani, a brother of Tarek, said he spoke briefly on the phone to his brother after they were released.
“He’s okay, everything considered,” Mohammed said. But he said the two remain in a precarious situation as long as they are still in Egypt.
“I won’t be celebrating until they are on a plane back to Canada,” he said. Passports and other arrangements still have to be made to get his brother and Greyson back home, he said. Mohammed said he was first alerted earlier Saturday evening that the two could be released and was advised they would be moved to a police station and then be picked up by Canadian consular officials. Loubani and Greyson were arrested in Cairo on their way to Gaza as part of a medical mission. According to a statement released by the pair, they were arrested and beaten after witnessing the deaths of more than 50 protesters. Their detention drew international attention with the Canadian government warning Egypt that it could jeopardize relations between the two countries.
Continue reading “John and Tarek released”
The right of faculty members to speak out on matters affecting their colleges and universities has long been viewed as central to the way academic freedom and shared governance are supposed to work in American higher education, reports Inside Higher Ed
“The University of California Board of Regents affirmed that right this month with an amendment to the system’s “Statement on the Professional Rights of Faculty.” In so doing, the board sought to undercut the impact of a 2006 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that has been used in some cases to question the faculty right to speak out on institutional governance.
“The new language states that faculty members have the “freedom to address any matter of institutional policy or action when acting as a member of the faculty whether or not as a member of an agency of institutional governance.”
“While many faculty members might just assume that they have that right, the 2006 decision (which was not about higher education) led some courts to question such rights. That ruling, Garcetti v. Ceballos, was about a suit by a deputy district attorney in Los Angeles who was demoted after he criticized a local sheriff’s conduct to his supervisors. The Supreme Court ruled that First Amendment protections do not necessarily extend to public employees when they speak in capacities related to their jobs. Continue reading “Univ of Calif affirms speech rights”
Today, in the midst of a surge in anti-gay persecution and violence from Russia to Cameroon to Jamaica, and as LGBT rights issues continue to divide United Nations member states,
the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights launched Free & Equal, a major global outreach campaign for LGBT equality. Bilerico reports that:
“The year-long initiative, which will focus on public education and advocate for legal reforms, was launched at a press conference in Cape Town, South Africa. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay was joined by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Justice Edwin Cameron of the South African Constitutional Court.
“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights promises a world in which everyone is born free and equal in dignity and rights – no exceptions, no-one left behind,” said High Commissioner Pillay, a native of South Africa. “Yet it’s still a hollow promise for many millions of LGBT people forced to confront hatred, intolerance, violence and discrimination on a daily basis.”
“Indeed, a press release from the human rights office notes that consensual same-sex relationships are still criminalized in more than 76 countries around the globe, discrimination against LGBT people is rampant in education, health care, and the workplace, and hate-motivated beatings, sexual assaults, and murders have been recorded “in all regions of the world.” Continue reading “United Nations: “Free and Equal””
Free-speech moved a little closer to extinction in Russia today, as legislators voted overwhelmingly
in favor of a measure criminalizing “homosexual propaganda. Meanwhile, protesters opposing the law are being arrested.
Russian police have detained 20 gay rights campaigners and militant Orthodox Christian activists near parliament as politicians overwhelmingly backed a the proposed law. ” “Russia’s State Duma, the lower house of parliament, voted 388-1-1 for the law that makes public events and the dissemination of information on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, community to minors punishable by fines of up to $16,000 (£10,000),” reports The Guardian. “After two more readings, the bill will have to be signed by President Vladimir Putin.
“Earlier on Friday three dozen LGBT rights campaigners had gathered near the State Duma to protest against the law when militant Orthodox activists started assaulting and pelting them with eggs. Police intervened, but mostly detained the LGBT campaigners. At a similar rally on Tuesday Orthodox activists violently assaulted LGBT campaigners, who had gathered to kiss each other in protest against the planned legislation. Continue reading “Free speech failing in Russia”