The Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste, who was imprisoned in Cairo for 400 days, has been released by Egytian authorities.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said on Sunday that Greste had arrived in Cyprus and was “desperate” to return to his native Australia.
Bishop said that Greste had been released “unconditionally”. Greste was accompanied by his brother Mike and was reported to be in good health. Two other Al Jazeera journalists – Baher Mohamed, a producer, and the channel’s Cairo bureau chief Mohamed Fahmy – still remain imprisoned in Egypt. Andrew Greste, Peter’s other brother, said at a news conference in Brisbane on Monday that the journalist would not rest until his Al Jazeera colleagues were also freed. “We are thinking of Baher, Mohamed and their families,” said Andrew Greste, who said his brother was “safe, healthy and very, very happy”. Greste’s release followed a growing chorus of worldwide condemnation over the detention of the three journalists. Al Jazeera Media Network welcomed the move but demanded the release of Greste’s colleagues.
‘Good news, but not enough’
In a statement, the network said the campaign to free its journalists in Egypt would not end until all three had been released. It said that all three have to be exonerated, and the convictions against its other journalists tried in absentia also have to be lifted. Mostefa Souag, acting Director General of the Al Jazeera 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. “We will not rest until Baher and Mohamed also regain their freedom. The Egyptian authorities have it in their power to finish this properly today, and that is exactly what they must do.”
Al Anstey, the Managing Director of Al Jazeera English, said he was relieved Greste had been freed and was on his way home to be reunited with his family, but spoke of the need to free Mohamed and Fahmy. We’ve got to focus that Baher and Mohamed are still behind bars, and several of their colleagues that were sentenced to ten years in absentia are still sentenced today,” he said. Greste, Mohamed and Fahmy had been falsely accused of colluding with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. After their conviction in June last year, the men were sentenced to between seven and 10 years in jail. On January 1, Egypt’s Court of Cassation overturned the sentences and ordered a retrial, but there is still no indication of when that trial will begin. -aljazeera