Greste’s boss in Sydney for freedom push

The boss of jailed Australian journalist Peter Greste says it’s unclear whether a new extradition law in Egypt will offer any hope of his early release.


The decree, issued by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday allows the deportation of foreign defendants accused or convicted of crimes.

The president said when it is in Egypt’s “supreme interests”, foreign defendants could be extradited back home to either be tried or serve their sentences.

But Al Jazeera English chief Al Anstey says it’s just another twist and turn in a very confusing and unfair process.

“It defies logic, it defies justice they’re still behind bars after 320 days,” he said on Thursday.

The Al Jazeera boss is in Sydney this week to speak to Greste’s family and campaign for his release.

Greste is one of three journalists with the Qatari broadcaster detained and sentenced to up to 10 years in an Egyptian prison.

Greste, Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed were convicted in June of aiding the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood and spreading false information.

The trio is appealing against the convictions on the grounds of flawed evidence, which Anstey said bordered on the surreal at times.

“They had videos from other news organisations, family photos, they had the Gotye music video. It was totally irrelevant to the case,” he said.

But the next court date, set for January 1, is merely an interim court to decide if an appeal will go ahead.

By then, Greste and his Al Jazeera colleagues will have been in jail for more than a year.

US President Barack Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron have led international calls for their exoneration and rallied for press freedoms.

Anstey thinks those conversations will get louder as the next court date approaches.

In the meantime, he is deeply concerned for the men, who are living in a very confined space and in difficult circumstances.

“They’re living a nightmare every second of every day. They’ve got to be set free,” he said.