‘Peter Greste is a free man’



Australian journalist Peter Greste has been freed from a Cairo jail and is on his way home after more than a year in prison.

Mr Greste’s brother Andrew confirmed he was a free man after being set free under a new law allowing foreign prisoners to be deported.

• Jailed Greste writes letter of thanks
• Advisor: who is Peter Greste?

The Al Jazeera correspondent spent 400 days behind bars after being imprisoned for seven years on charges of aiding the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Peter Greste's family

The Greste family were beaming in Brisbane on Monday. Photo: AAP

A statement from the Egyptian Interior Ministry confirmed Mr Greste had been released under a presidential decree from Egyptian president Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.

Detained Al Jazeera colleague Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy could be deported within days, but the future of Egyptian national Baher Mohamed is less clear, as he has nowhere to be deported to.

At a press conference on Monday morning, brother Andrew Greste said they were very grateful for the support of the Australian people and government, saying they were just “small cogs in this massive campaign”.

“Peter Greste is a free man. He is currently with our brother Mike in Cyprus where he is gathering his thoughts at the moment,” he said.

“It’s going to take him a little bit of time to absorb what’s occurred… We’ve just got to respect his privacy and give him a little bit of time to readjust.”

His family were clearly in high spirits, with father Juris Greste poking fun at the recent Prince Philip knighthood scandal when thanking the family’s fixers in Cairo.

“There are thousand upon thousands of people who we all, as a family, will want to thank,” he said.

“While we’re in a knighthood mode, I would commend and recommend them for a knighthood, one and all.”

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Mr Greste was “immensely relieved” and “desperate to come home to Australia and reunite with his family”.

“He expressed his heartfelt thanks for the support he received… he said it had sustained him through the very long time he spent in jail.”

She told reporters that Mr Greste is “very keen to be back on a beach and be lying in the sun in Australia.”

Al Jazeera’s acting director general Mostefa Souag said the campaign would not end until all three men were released.

Peter Greste tribute

A Sydney tribute to Peter Greste.

“We’re pleased for Peter and his family that they are to be reunited,” Mr Souag said in a statement.

“It has been an incredible and unjustifiable ordeal for them, and they have coped with incredible dignity.

“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.”

Andrew Greste said his brother “won’t rest” until his two colleagues are released from prison.

The imprisonment of the journalists sparked a worldwide campaign for their release, with Mr Greste’s parents spending the last six months in Egypt appealing for his release.

Canada says it remains “very hopeful” that Mohamed Fahmy will be released soon, following Mr Greste’s release.

“We welcome these positive developments,” Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird’s office said in a statement.

“We remain very hopeful that Mr Fahmy’s case will be resolved shortly.”

Baird’s office said the Canadian government was working closely with Egypt to secure the freedom of Mohamed Fahmy, who was detained along with Greste and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed in December 2013.

– with AAP

Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter.
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.