Greste family 'cautiously hopeful' of possible pardon

Al-Jazeera English correspondent Peter Greste appears in a defendant's cage in the police institute court house in Tura along with several other defendants during a trial on terror charges, in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, April 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Hamada Elrasam)
Al-Jazeera English correspondent Peter Greste appears in a defendant's cage in the police institute court house in Tura along with several other defendants during a trial on terror charges, in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, April 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Hamada Elrasam) Hamada Elrasam

MIKE Greste, the Toowoomba based brother of journalist Peter Greste, is cautiously hopeful Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will give a pardon to the Al Jazeera journalists jailed in Cairo.

Sentenced to 10 years jail on charges of spreading lies to help a terrorist organisation, Peter was given a glimmer of hope this week when Mr Sisi issued a decree which allows him to repatriate foreign prisoners.

"We see this certainly as a development but we are treating it very cautiously," Mike Greste said.

"We don't want to get too excited about these developments to then get another disappointing result.

"It is certainly encouraging and opens the door for further negotiations down the track."

The experienced journalist will appeal his sentence in January however the Greste family hope this latest development will allow Peter to be freed before then.

"We are all set for the appeal. It is six weeks away now," Mike said.

"If we can find a solution and have Peter freed in the mean time that would be tremendous.

"Peter has faced 12 months in prison and it would be a great result if Egypt can find a way to have peter released before the appeal."

The family had also been fighting to improve conditions for the journalist while in prison.

"Our knowledge is that pretty much the conditions in the cell have remained the same since after the conviction," Mike said.

"He gets a reasonable amount of freedom outside of his cell during daylight hours but otherwise we try to see if we can extend his exercise times and those sorts of things as we progress. But they're very small steps.

"They're certainly different conditions and much more improved and better to what he had to endure during the initial court process."



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