This morning Australians woke up to the fantastic news that award winning Australian journalist, Peter Greste, held in appalling conditions in a Cairo jail since December 29 2013, has be released. The Egyptian Society of Australia would like to extend a heartfelt congratulations to Peter Greste, his family and to all Australians for the release of Peter from Egypt and his expected return to Australia.
ESA would like to highlight that the delightful news of Peter should not overshadow the sad reality that both his colleagues Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy are still in jail despite all of their convictions overturned by the Court of Cassation on 1 January 2015. It should also not overshadow the fact that almost 60 Egyptian journalists and photographers are in Egyptian jails since the coup in July 2013.
ESA would like to re-iterate that the jailing of the Aljazeera journalists, and now the release of Peter Greste, are both politically inspired and are not the independent rulings of Egyptian judiciary. The release of Peter Greste came weeks after reconciliation meetings between Egypt and Qatar.
Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa weighed in this argument to say “It has become increasingly clear that the journalists have been used as political pawns in a dispute between the authorities of Egypt and the Qatar government, which owns the Al Jazeera network. It is unacceptable that the lives of these men have been so carelessly toyed with”.
The Chairman for the Egyptian Society of Australia, Mr Mohammad Helmy, said "We are delighted that Peter is out after his 400 day ordeal." He added, "We are cognisant of the fact that we are dealing with a regime that has no respect to human rights and is prepared to play politics with the lives of people including the Aljazeera journalists and many other Egyptian media workers."
Lets celebrate Peter's return but not forget the ordeals of many others in Egyptian prisons.
Dr Mahmoud HejazyM: 0435 604 684
Mohamed AbdelghanyM: 0418 978 520