1 Feb 2015

Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste freed by Egypt

Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste, imprisoned in Egypt 400 days ago on charges that included aiding a terrorist group, is deported to his native Australia today.

Peter Greste, along with colleagues Mohamed Fahmy and producer Baher Mohamed, had been held in an Egyptian prison since December 2013.

There was no immediate word on the fate of his two Al Jazeera colleagues in the case that provoked an international outcry.

Egyptian security officials told Agence France Presse news agency that: “There is a presidential decision to deport Peter Greste to Australia.”

Read more: Al Jazeera journalists handed seven year jail term in Egypt

In a statement, Al Jazeera welcomed the news but urged the release of the two remaining journalists. Mostefa Souag, acting director general of 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.

The Egyptian authorities have it in their power to finish this properly today. Mostefa Souag

“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.”

Peter Greste’s brother Andrew thanked supporters for backing his release:


The three journalists, accused of aiding members of a “terrorist organisation”, were handed down seven year sentences by an Egyptian court in June 2014. Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed, received an additional three-year jail sentence after a spent bullet casing was found in his possession.

The three were accused of publishing lies that harmed the national interest and supplying money, equipment and information to a group of 17 Egyptians.

Seventeen other defendants faced charges of belonging to a “terrorist organisation”, an apparent reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been protesting against the government since the army toppled Islamist president Mohamed Mursi in July 2013.

Western governments and rights groups have voiced concern over freedom of expression in Egypt and the crackdown has raised questions about Egypt’s democratic credentials.