Australia working to bring Al Jazeera journalist home: FM

AFP , Wednesday 7 Jan 2015

Peter Greste
File Photo: Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste stands inside the defendants’ cage in an Egyptian court during their trial early in 2014 (Photo: AP)

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Wednesday Australia was engaging daily with the Egyptian government "at the highest level" to bring home jailed Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste.


She said Greste was in a "similar situation" to Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy, who was sentenced along with the Australian to seven years in jail for defaming Egypt and aiding banned Islamists in a case which sparked international uproar.


Their Egyptian Al Jazeera colleague Baher Mohamed was sentenced to 10 years.


On Tuesday Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Ottawa was "working closely at senior levels of the Egyptian government", with the diplomacy at a "critical phase".


"Both the Foreign Minister of Canada and I have been making representations on behalf of our respective citizens and I have been engaged with the Foreign Minister of Egypt for quite some time," Bishop told reporters.


She said she could not say when Greste might return to Australia, but added that "we're certainly engaged on a daily basis with the Egyptian government at the highest levels".


Fahmy's brother said a request has been submitted to have him deported from Egypt under a new law signed by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.


Greste's lawyer has said he submitted a similar request, while Mohamed's wife said she also was looking at ways to get her husband out of Egypt.


Egypt's top court ordered a retrial in the case last Thursday. All three journalists remain in custody pending a new hearing.

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