Journalist arrives in Cyprus after being freed, as Al Jazeera demands release of his two colleagues who remain in jail.
The family of Peter Greste, who has been released by Egyptian authorities after 400 days in prison, have said the award-winning Al Jazeera journalist’s relief at being free is marred by the continued imprisonment of his colleagues.
Baher Mohamed, a producer, and the channel’s Cairo bureau chief Mohamed Fahmy, who were working on the same stories as Peter, are still in jail and on Monday started their 401st day behind bars.
Greste’s brother Andrew said on Monday that Greste was still worried about the fate of his colleagues.
“Straight up he’s not going to forget his two other colleagues. There’s no doubt that his excitement is tempered and and restrained and will be restrained until those guys are free,” Andrew said at a news conference in Brisbane.
“He won’t give up until Baher and Mohamed are out of there,” he added: “We are thinking of Baher, Mohamed and their families.”
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 another brother, Mike, and was reported to be in good health.
Since he was arrested, Greste’s parents Lois and Juris have travelled back and forth between Cairo and Australia, campaigning for his release.
At the start of Monday’s press conference, Lois Greste said: “It’s a day that I thought would never come.”
Greste’s release followed a chorus of worldwide condemnation over the detention of the three journalists.
“There is still a sense of unreality about it all, much like the day 400-odd back when we received the call one night that Peter’s in an Egytpian prison. To me it is yet to quite sink in,” Juris Greste said.
Al Jazeera Media Network welcomed the move but demanded the release of Greste’s colleagues.
‘Good news, but not enough’
In a statement, the Al Jazeera Media Network network said the campaign to free its journalists in Egypt would not end until they were 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 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, but that there was still a need to free Fahmy and Mohamed.
“We’ve got to focus that Baher and Mohamed are still behind bars, and several of their colleagues that were sentenced to 10 years in absentia are still sentenced today,” he said.
Greste, Fahmy and Mohamed had been falsely accused of colluding with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
After their conviction last June, the men were sentenced to between 7 and 10 years in jail.
On January 1, Egypt’s Court of Cassation overturned the sentences and ordered a retrial, but no date has yet been set.