Australian journalist Peter Greste has been released from jail in Egypt and has left the country.
Greste has been in prison for 400 days after being found guilty of several charges, while working as a journalist for Al Jazeera, which included aiding a terrorist group. He was to serve a seven-year sentence in Cairo.
Greste’s family have confirmed his release from jail in a statement posted on social media and will hold a press conference in Brisbane later this morning.
Hard to believe but YES @PeterGreste is a free man. His butt has left Egyptian airspace yippeeeeee!!!!! Think I'll go and get drunk :):):)
— Andrew Greste (@AndyroosteG) February 1, 2015
Andrew Greste said: “We’re ecstatic that Peter has been released and we now ask if the world could respect his privacy, to give him time to appreciate his freedom before he faces the media.”
He was freed by order of Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Greste’s colleague Mohamed Fahmy was expected to be released from prison within days, a security official said. There was no immediate word on the fate of his other colleague Baher Mohamed.
Julie Bishop, Australia’s foreign minister, says Greste has reached Cyprus.
“It is with great relief that I can confirm that Peter Greste is on his way home,” she says.
She spoke to Greste just after his release. He wants to get home to his family. “From my discussion with him, he was very keen to be back on a beach and lying in the sun in Australia,” she says.
Al Jazeera says the news network’s campaign won’t end until all three have been released.
“We’re pleased for Peter and his family that they are to be reunited,” says acting director general Mostefa Souag.
“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.”
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