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Australia PM urges Egypt to free journalist

Tony Abbot calls on Egyptian interim president Mansour to expedite the release of Peter Greste, an Australian citizen.

Last updated: 28 Mar 2014 17:00
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Greste is one of three Al Jazeera English journalists detained in Cairo since December 29 [Al Jazeera]

Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott has spoken to Egypt's interim President, Adly Mansour, and called for the release of Al Jazeera English correspondent Peter Greste.  

Greste is one of three Al Jazeera Englishstaff members who has been held in a Cairo prison for the past 90 days. 

Greste, along with Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohammed, are accused of having links with the Muslim Brotherhood, now deemed a terrorist organisation by Egypt's interim government, and spreading false news. 

Al Jazeera's Andrew Thomas, reporting from Sydney, said the telephone conversation between the two leaders happened on Thursday.

Thomas said: "It's understood that the prime minister asked for the president's assistance in Peter Greste's release, who is an Australian citizen.

"Abbott said Greste was doing his job and had no interest in damaging Egypt. Mansour said he hoped he would be released as soon as possible.

"Up to now Tony Abbott hasn't said anything about Peter Greste's plight. Peter Greste's parents were very pleased that the prime minister is interested."

Abdullah al-Shami, from Al Jazeera's Arabic channel, has also been in custody for more than six months. 

Al Jazeera rejects all charges against its staff and continues to demand their immediate release.

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Al Jazeera
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