Greste free from Egyptian prison

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 01 Februari 2015 | 23.08

Released ... Australian journalist Peter Greste stands inside court's cage in Cairo. Picture: EPA/Khaled Elfiqi Source: News Corp Australia

JAILED Australian journalist Peter Greste has been freed from an Egyptian prison and is on his way home.

"There is a presidential decision to deport Peter Greste to Australia," a senior interior ministry official said.

An airport official said the 49-year-old left Cairo on an EgyptAir flight to Larnaca, Cyprus, that took off shortly after 4pm Sunday local time (1am Monday AEDT).

There is no prospect that Greste would face trial in Australia.

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Greste — who spent 400 days in a Cairo prison — applied to Egyptian officials in December for his deportation.

Greste had been sentenced to seven years jail along with a fellow Al-Jazeera reporter, Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy, for allegedly aiding the black-listed Muslim Brotherhood group.

Their Egyptian colleague Baher Mohamed was sentenced to 10 years.

There was no immediate indication of whether Fahmy and Mohamed would also be released.

Jailed ... journalist Peter Greste was sentenced to seven years jail. Picture: Jeff Overs/BBC News & Current Affairs via Getty Images Source: Supplied

Greste was eligible for deportation under a recent law enacted by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi allowing the deportation of foreigners to stand trial or serve their sentences in their home countries.

Before Christmas, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said she had discussed the case with her Egyptian counterpart and was "hopeful" and "optimistic" Greste would be released.

Negotiations to secure Greste's release were run by Saudi Arabia, and King Abdullah's death delayed the processing of the application by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Mr al-Sisi has also been preoccupied with an outbreak of violence by jihadists in the Sinai Peninsula.

Mr Greste's brother Andrew yesterday morning posted on Twitter the family was waiting for official confirmation.

"Until @petergreste butt is on a 747 outside of Egyptian airspace the campaign to free him continues. We've been let down before," he posted.

"I would welcome the news that @petergreste will be deported tomorrow. As yet I have no official confirmation."

Mr Greste added that if his brother did not receive a pardon the family was "pinning our hopes on the application for Peter's deportation".

Family ... Peter Greste's family Juris, Andrew and Lois Greste have been campaigning for his release. Picture: Annette Dew Source: News Corp Australia

Al Jazeera has called on Egypt to also release Fahmy and Mohamed.

"We will not rest until Baher and Mohamed also regain their freedom," acting director of the Doha-based network, Mostefa Souag, said.

"The Egyptian authorities have it in their power to finish this properly today, and that is exactly what they must do. Peter's integrity is not just intact, but has been further enhanced by the fortitude and sacrifice he has shown for his profession of informing the public."

Originally published as Jailed Greste free, en route to Australia

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