Less than 24 hours after being arrested and charged, London doctor and humanitarian activist Dr. Tarek Loubani was back outside London North Centre Member of Parliament Peter Fragiskatos’ office chanting “a little ketchup ain’t no crime, it’s ceasefire now time.”
“The first thing I asked when I got out was, ‘has he signed on to a ceasefire call?’ When the answer was no I walked straight from the courthouse to here,” said Loubani.
Loubani was arrested the night of Nov. 15 and charged him with one count of mischief. He was held in custody overnight, and released the following afternoon.
“They took me to jail, and it was quite heavy handed in that they tried to impose a condition where I would not be, not only not allowed to protest, but not allowed to even write to or tweet about Peter Fragiskatos,” explained Loubani.
In a statement to CTV News London, Loubani’s counsel, Arash Ghiassi and Riaz Sayani, said, “The London police’s heavy-handed approach to political protest in this case is incompatible with the charter right to freedom of expression.”
Fragiskatos spoke with CTV News London and said it is now a police matter.
“There’s a distinction between vandalism and protest, the two are not one and the same. One has the right to protest, one does not have the right to vandalize,” said Fragiskatos.
Loubani appeared in court on Thursday afternoon, by video from an overnight cell at police headquarters.
The Crown said Loubani was part of a protest on Oct. 22, 2023 that ended at North London Centre MP Peter Fragiskatos’ office on Hyman Street in London.
The Crown added, police observed Loubani pull out a bottle of ketchup and squirt it on the exterior of the MP’s building — the act was captured by CCTV.
Loubani has been critical of Fragiskatos’ response to the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
“Peter Fragiskatos, please add your voice to the cease fire call. We’re hear to demand, but we are also here to beg, people are dying,” said Loubani.
“A cease fire called by Canada will not affect the situation — we are a middle power, we don’t have the ability to determine that outcome,” explained Fragiskatos.
In a statement, London Health Sciences Centre said, “As this is a matter now before the courts, we are unable to comment on this specific situation; however, we can confirm that Dr. Tarek Loubani currently has privileges at London Health Sciences Centre.”
Western University confirmed to CTV News London that Loubani is a Western clinical faculty member.
Loubani said he knows there is a process whenever a doctor is charged, and that he will go through it.
Loubani fled Kuwait and came to Canada as a refugee at a young age.
A decade ago, he made international headlines when he was detained in Egypt while on his way to Gaza for a medical mission.
In 2018, he was shot in the legs while helping wounded protesters in Gaza.
“We will be here everyday until Peter Fragiskatos calls for a ceasefire or until the war ends,” said Loubani.
Loubani is set to return to court Dec. 6, 2023.