AFP/Getty Images Members of Egyptian security forces stand guard outside a gate of the Tora prison on Aug. 21, less than a week after London’s Tarek Lounbani and John Greyson were taken there when arrested in Cairo.

Western University law professor Michael Lynk, an expert in Middle East law, knows the gravity of London doctor Tarek Loubani and filmmaker John Greyson’s situation.

The men are behind bars in the notorious Tora prison and face the possibility of murder charges.

Lynk is optimistic the Egyptians will bow to Canadian diplomatic pressure and release the men, but the pessimist in him fears for the worst.

Here’s a look at what he said on a variety of issues surrounding the men’s case.

What might happen?

“The Egyptians might decide there is serious trouble these two are involved in and they’re . . . not going to budge on this until it goes through the court system,” Lynk said. “The pessimist would say things look bad. The slow, grinding wheels that is the Egyptian judiciary process is going to mean they’ll be there for some time.”

The Egyptian judiciary process

“It’s under-staffed; corruption is a part of the system; there’s much more political interference and involvement and influence than there is here,” he said. “So all those things count against them.”

Canada’s role

“It can mobilize our consular staff in Cairo, it can mobilize our ambassador, it can mobilize our foreign minister to continually raise the issue and put it in front of the Egyptians,” Lynk said. “All this, I understand, is being done.”

Stephen Harper’s role

“About the only card we haven’t played, from what I understand, is having Stephen Harper pick up the phone and either speak to the interim Egyptian prime minister or the military chief, who is the real de facto power in Egypt,” Lynk said. “I don’t know what the reluctance is, but either it’s the last card they have to play and they don’t want to play that card until it’s going to be effective or there’s a reticence to get involved with two Canadians who may not deserve their help.”

A possible outcome

“My instinct is this is going to be a case of surprises, that it’ll be sudden decisions that no one saw coming either to press charges or to suddenly release them,” he said. “If it’s to press charges, they’re probably doomed to be there for some time.”

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