The Slatest

Egypt Releases Al Jazeera Journalist, but Two More Remain Behind Bars

Peter Greste listens to the verdict inside the defendants cage during his trial for allegedly supporting the Muslim Brotherhood on June 23, 2014 at the police institute near Cairo’s Tora prison.  

Photo by Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images

Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste was released from a jail in Cairo after spending 400 days behind bars and was deported to his native Australia. Greste immediately boarded a plane for Cyprus, reports the Washington Post. Two other Al Jazeera journalists—Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy—are still imprisoned in Egypt. The deportation comes a month after a court ordered a retrial of the three men, who were sentenced to seven-to-10 years on charges that included aiding a terrorist organization.

“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,” said Mostefa Souag, acting director general of Al Jazeera Media Network. “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.”

Fahmy, who has dual Canadian-Egyptian citizenship, is likely to be released within days, a security official tells Reuters. “His deportation is in its final stages. We are hopeful,” his fiancée said.

Greste arrived in Cairo for what he thought was a short assignment, as he was simply supposed to fill in for a colleague over the Christmas break. He was the Kenya-based correspondent for Al Jazeera when he went to Egypt to cover the ongoing street protests. “But soon after he arrived in Cairo he told his family he felt increasingly unsafe working on the volatile, unpredictable streets of the capital,” notes the Sydney Morning Herald. “Greste’s employer, Al-Jazeera, was in Egypt’s crosshairs and the three journalists were the collateral damage.”