After 400 days of imprisonment, the Australian AlJazeera journalist is on his way back home.
Relief for human rights groups, journalists and Peter Greste himself today, as the Australian journalist from AlJazeera English has officially been released after serving 400 days in an Egyptian prison. However, his Egyptian colleagues Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed are still imprisoned.
Faced with the charges of aiding a terrorist group, Peter Greste and his colleagues made headlines worldwide as the international community appealed for their release. His departure from jail was confirmed by four security officials speaking to Reuters news agency.
Rumours were spreading all morning that he would possibly be released, but when his family was asked, they stressed that they had heard nothing and that it was all hearsay. Greste's brother appeared to know nothing of the imminent release, saying on Twitter earlier today: “As yet I have no official confirmation. Rumours, rumours, rumours,” adding “We’ve been let down before.”
President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said in November that a presidential pardon was being studied but ruled out granting the journalists clemency until the legal process has been finalised. The deportation decision comes according to a law passed in late 2014 that allows foreign convicts to be transferred to their country to either be retried or serve their sentence.
Greste release is an encouraging sign that this decree will be followed, hopefully paving for his other two colleagues, Canadian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohamed, release. However, at this time it is unclear what their fate will be.