Thumbs up: Greste to remain journalist

Australian journalist Peter Greste wants to return to work as a foreign correspondent and says he’s confident his imprisoned colleagues will eventually join him as free men.

He says he has no immediate plans other than spending time with his family after his 400 days in a Cairo jail, but ultimately wants to return to reporting.

“I don’t want to give my job up. I’m a correspondent, it’s what I do,” Mr Greste said.

“How I do it, whether I actually do go ahead with it, I don’t know.”

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The confession elicited a groan – and a firm warning – from his mother, Lois: “We are not going through this again!”

The Al Jazeera reporter made a jubilant homecoming in Brisbane on Thursday morning following his deportation from Egypt on Sunday and two days resting in Cyprus with his brother, Michael.

At a packed press conference later in the day, he said he’d been humbled by the “frankly overwhelming” support from around the world during his incarceration and following his release.

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The scale of that support was barely comprehensible and only just dawning on him after initially expecting “maybe a dozen cameras” to greet him at the airport.

His family were the ones who deserved the praise for their tireless campaign to free him, Mr Greste said.

“They’ve had more camera time than I’ve had in my entire career,” he laughed.

“I sat in a box as a mute lump.”

Meditation, a masters degree in international relations and warm memories of a holiday to the Whitsundays helped the jailed journalist keep his spirits up throughout his ordeal.

But when eventually released, his emotions were mixed.

Colleagues Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed remain in prison after being convicted of broadcasting false news and aiding a terrorist organisation.

Mr Greste said the day the trio were slapped with hefty prison sentences was the toughest he endured because no one had really expected it.

But they rallied together after the initial shock and tried to keep each other mentally and physically fit.

“But then, as now, we were confident of our position, of our innocence,” he said.

“We were confident that the process, if it was followed through to its logical conclusion, could only see us freed.

“We’ll see them out.”

Mr Fahmy, a joint Egyptian-Canadian citizen, has renounced his Egyptian citizenship in a bid for freedom.

Mr Mohamed, however, only has Egyptian citizenship and faces an uncertain fate.


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