Peter Greste freed from Egyptian jail after more than 400 days behind bars



Australian journalist Peter Greste is understood to be starting his journey home after being freed from an Egyptian prison after being jailed last year along with two colleagues.

Numerous reports have cited a Cairo airport official as stating Greste is being deported and is on his way to Cyprus with his brother Michael, with Egyptian officials suggesting he had been released following presidential “approval”.

The Al Jazeera trio have always maintained their innocence after being convicted of aiding the banned Muslim Brotherhood, although Greste’s colleagues Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed have not been released.

Over the last year there have been numerous appeals for clemency from the Egyptian authorities by journalism groups as well as Greste’s family, and last month a court ordered a retrial for the group, raising hopes they could be freed soon.

CEO of the union which represents journalists Paul Murphy said they were very pleased with the news.

“The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance is delighted at the news our colleague Peter Greste has been released,” said Murphy. “Peter and his family’s strength and dignity through the last 400 days has been an inspiration to all of us, and done so much to highlight the critical press freedom issues facing us today.

“We now look forward to seeing him finally reunited with his family, a moment of joy that everyone who has campaigned for his release will savour. But of course that joy is tempered by the fact that Peter’s Al Jazeera colleagues, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed remain unjustly detained.

“The campaign will continue for their release.”

Greste was sentenced to seven years in prison and over the weekend marked 400 days behind bars.

Al Jazeera has issued a statement urging the release of Mohamed and Famy, saying its campaign will not end “till all three have been release”.

Mostefa Souag, acting director general of its media network said: “We’re pleased for Peter and his family that they are to be reunited. It has been an incredible and unjustifiable ordeal for them and they have coped with incredible dignity.

“Peter’s integrity is not just intact, but has been further enhanced by the fortitude and sacrifice he has shown for his profession of informing the public.”

Newspaper Works CEO Mark Hollands said: “We are pleased and relieved for both Peter and his family that he has been released from his unjust imprisonment, however, we, like Al Jazeera, urge the Egyptian Government to now release Peter’s colleagues, Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy.

“All actions by any government designed to restrict press freedom and the public’s right to know should and must be fought.”



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