Jailed Australian Al Jazeera journalist asks to be deported from Egypt | News | DW | 02.01.2015
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Jailed Australian Al Jazeera journalist asks to be deported from Egypt

The lawyer of Australian Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste has applied to the Egyptian government requesting deportation. Greste's family and the Australian government are hoping for the journalist's speedy return.

Peter Greste's lawyer has applied to the Egyptian government for the reporter's deportation to Australia, Greste's brothers Michael and Andrew told reporters in a press conference in Brisbane on Friday.

Greste was sentenced to seven years imprisonment along with his colleague, Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy, while another colleague, Egyptian Baher Mohammed, was sentenced to 10 years, on charges of aiding the banned organization Muslim Brotherhood.

On Thursday, Egypt's Court of Cassation ordered their retrial. The journalists were not granted bail.

Greste's brothers said they hoped Greste could be brought back to Australia under a new law which allows Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to deport foreign journalists during a trial.

"We've got to be hopeful…It's a new decree and there's very little understood about it, there's very little regulation, there's no precedent so obviously we're in unchartered waters there," Michael Greste told reporters.

'Some optimism'

However, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the government had "some optimism" that Greste could be brought back home. She hoped to speak to Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in the near future.

"The law is not very clear, it is a new law, but it does provide for a couple of options for prisoners to be transferred back to their home country, in this case Australia," she said.

Under the recently passed decree, el-Sissi has the power to deport foreigners during a trial. This would allow Greste and his Canadian colleague to go home.

Baher Mohammed's wife, Jihan, welcomed the news of the retrial on Thursday, calling it a "small but positive step towards my husband being freed." Marwa Omara, Fahmy's fiancee, said that a request had been filed for Fahmy to be deported to Canada.

On Thursday, Egypt's Court of Cassation in Cairo ordered the retrial of the three journalists on the basis of procedural flaws in their earlier trial.

Human rights groups and Western governments had criticized the original verdict.

mg/cmk (Reuters, AP)

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