Greste urges Egypt to free colleagues in first interview since release

Al Jazeera’s Peter Greste has urged the Egypt Government to free his colleagues in his first interview since his release yesterday.

In the interview with Al Jazeera Greste reveals his mixture of relief at being freed, and his anguish that two of his colleagues, Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy, remain imprisoned in Egypt.

“I can’t tell you how relieved I am at being free, I really didn’t expect (it); we were settling in for a period of months in prison for the retrial so to be out now today with just a few minutes notice is just extraordinary,” he said in the interview with Al Jazeera.

“I feel incredible angst about my colleagues, leaving them behind amidst all this relief, I still feel a sense of concern and worry. If it’s appropriate for me to be free, it’s right for all of them to be freed.”

Greste said the ordeal the three men had endured together over the last 400 days had brought them together, and he said he thought of them now as brothers rather than just colleagues.

“When you spend 400 days in such close proximity with people, you get to know them really well,” he said.

“It was a really difficult moment walking out and leaving the prison, saying goodbye to those guys, not knowing how much longer they will have to put up with this. I’ve got to know and accept Baher and Mohamed as family, they’re my brothers.”

Both Fahmy and Baher remain imprisoned in Egypt with no clear indication as to what their fate will be from Egyptian authorities. Greste said it was devastating for Baher in particular as he has a young family.

Greste said: “Mohamed Fahmy is an extraordinary professional, a dedicated journalist, very passionate and a strong-willed character. Baher is one of the most amazing family men I have ever met. If anyone has suffered a lot of all of this, he has a wife, and one of his children was born while he was prison.

“We need to keep the focus on him, and we don’t quite know what’s going to happen from here on.”

When he heard the news he was being released Greste said he was struck by conflicting emotions.

“I wasn’t expecting [to be released] at all, I woke up thinking of the campaign ahead of us. I went for a run and the prison warden called me over and told me it’s time to pack your stuff. He told me the embassy is coming, there was a mix of emotion boiling inside. Sense of relief and excitement, but a stress of having to say goodbye to my colleagues.”


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.