In Brief

Peter Greste: why Al-Jazeera journalist was freed in Egypt

Australian correspondent says he will now fight to win the release of his two colleagues from jail

One of the three Al-Jazeera journalists accused of "terror-related charges" in Egypt has been freed after 400 days in prison – but his two colleagues remain in jail.

Australian correspondent Peter Greste was yesterday released from Tora prison in Cairo and boarded an aircraft for Cyprus, en route to Australia.

In a case that caused international outcry, Greste and two colleagues – Canadian-Egyptian bureau chief Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed – were arrested after the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi in 2013.

Accused of supporting the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and spreading false news, they were convicted and sentenced to between seven and ten years in prison – despite Western campaigners denouncing the trial as a sham.

Last November, President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi said he was considering granting pardons to the two foreign Al-Jazeera journalists after signing a decree that permits foreign detainees to be deported for trial. Then last month, Egypt's top court ordered a retrial of all three men.

Officially, Greste has been deported to Australia to complete his sentence, but The Times says there is "no prospect that he will serve a jail sentence once home".

In a statement, Greste's family said he was "safe, healthy and happy to be free" but would not rest until he had won the freedom of his two colleagues.

Fahmy's lawyers have submitted a similar deportation request, with an Egyptian government source suggesting he will be released "within days". However, Baher Mohamed – who does not hold dual nationality – can only hope for a retrial or a presidential pardon, says The Times. Under Egyptian law, detainees are expected to serve more than half their prison sentence before a pardon is considered, according to Al-Jazeera's lawyers

The Doha-based broadcaster welcomed Greste's release but said that it was not enough. "The Egyptian authorities have it in their power to finish this properly today, and that is exactly what they must do," said Mostefa Souag, Al-Jazeera's acting director-general.

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