Al-Jazeera journalist urges Egypt to free his collegues
Jan 2,Cairo: Al-Jazeera journalist Peter Greste has urged the Egyptian government to free his colleagues. Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, who are still in prison, while Greste was freed on Sunday.
The trio were arrested in 2013 on charges of spreading false news and aiding the Muslim Brotherhood. Greste who is now en route to Australia was freed on Sunday after spending 400 days behind bars.
In an interview with Al-Jazeera Greste said, “I feel incredible angst about my colleagues, leaving them behind.”
Greste described his release as a “massive step forward” for Egypt and he hopes the country will “keep going down this path” with his colleagues.
He expressed concern for Fahmy and Mohamed, and other journalists convicted in absentia. “If it’s right for me to be free then it’s right for all of them to be free,” he added.
The three were sentenced between seven and ten years in jail on charges including spreading lies to help a terrorist organisation – a reference to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
Fahmy, who holds dual Egyptian and Canadian citizenship, could be freed if he renounces his Egyptian nationality, presidential sources say. But there are still concerns about Mohamed, an Egyptian who holds no dual nationality.
He described a “real mix of emotions” after learning he would be freed, with both a “sense of relief and excitement but also real stress in having to say goodbye to his colleagues and friends – “people who’ve really become family inside that prison”. It was a very hard time walking out of the prison saying goodbye to those friends, not knowing how much longer they will be behind bars.
All the three journalists were arrested in 2013 after being accused of collaborating with the banned Muslim Brotherhood after former President Mohammed Morsi was over thrown by the military.
But all of them denied the charges against them and said their trial was a sham.
The Oslo Times