For freed Al Jazeera journalist, relief mixed with concern for jailed colleagues

Australian journalist Peter Greste has been released from a Cairo prison after being convicted for aiding the Muslim Brotherhood and being jailed for more than a year. Meanwhile, his two Al Jazeera colleagues remain behind bars. Separately, a judge sentenced 183 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death. Jeffrey Brown reports.

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    An Australian journalist released yesterday after being jailed in Egypt for more than a year spoke for the first time today about his ordeal, while, in Cairo, a judge sentenced nearly 200 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death.

    Jeffrey Brown reports.

  • PETER GRESTE, Freed Al Jazeera Journalist:

    I can't tell you how relieved I am at being free. I really didn't expect it.


    It was the first full day of freedom for Peter Greste, the Al-Jazeera journalist released yesterday after 400 days in a Cairo jail. But, in Cyprus today, he said his own joy at being released is mixed with fears for two colleagues who remain imprisoned in Egypt.


    Amidst all of this relief, I still feel a sense of concern, a real sense of worry, because if it's appropriate for me, if it's right for me to be free, then it's right for all of them to be free.


    Greste, Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy, and Egyptian national Baher Mohamed were arrested in December 2013 over their coverage of a crackdown on Islamist protests.

    The three were accused of providing a platform for President Mohammed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood after Morsi was overthrown by the military. Separately, in a Cairo courtroom today, supporters of the Brotherhood chanted in protest, as a judge sentenced all 183 of them to death.

    They were convicted of playing a role in killing 16 police officers in the wake of Morsi's ouster. It was the latest in a series of mass trials and death sentences that have drawn international condemnation, including today at the State Department in Washington.

  • JEN PSAKI, State Department Spokeswoman:

    It simply seems impossible that a fair review of evidence and testimony could be achieved through mass trials. We continue to call on the government of Egypt to ensure due process for the accused on the merits of individual cases for all Egyptians and discontinue the practice of mass trials.


    Egyptian officials also face accusations that, during protests last week, police killed at least 27 people. One of them was 32-year-old activist and mother Shaimaa Sabbagh. President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said today he was pained by Sabbagh's death, and promised an investigation.

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