The mother of jailed journalist Peter Greste says seeking a pardon from Egypt’s new president is one of the first things the family will consider.
The family of Australian journalist Peter Greste may seek a pardon from Egypt’s new president, fearing a legal appeal could take too long.
Lois and Juris Greste have told of their despair after a Cairo court sentenced their son to seven years in jail for reporting on the aftermath of the 2013 coup that ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.
Greste and some of his Al Jazeera colleagues were jailed for reporting false news in the wake of the coup, and supporting Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, which has been declared a terrorist organisation.
His Brisbane-based parents have vowed they’ll never stop fighting to free their son.
Mrs Greste on Tuesday said that seeking a pardon from new President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was “probably the very first thing” the family would consider.
“Absolutely,” she told reporters in Brisbane.
“It’s one of the options. We’re not going to talk any further about it.”
A legal appeal is also an option, but there are fears that process could be very lengthy.
Mr Greste said the conditions his son was enduring in jail weighed heavily on him.
“Where he is being held, certainly by Australian standards, would be considered conditions of severe punishment,” he said.
“I’m depressed at that, the thought that he might have to stay in a place like that for the duration of the appeals processes, which can last sometimes months – many months.”
Mr Greste said his son had been jailed for upholding the principles of free speech, and that fight must never end.
“There will always be people, governments, and institutions wanting to limit the speaking of one’s mind and telling the way we see,” he said.
“To us, it is not just affecting the Greste family. It is also a slap in the face and a kick in the groin to Australia, as well as all fair-minded people around the world.”
Mrs Greste said Peter’s two brothers, who are in Cairo, had not been able to see him since the verdict and sentence.
She became emotional when asked about her son’s mental state.
“This will be a hard time for him, but I know he’ll get through it. He’ll be okay.”
Mr Greste said the Egyptian government had given them hope, but that was ripped away with Monday’s court result.
“The message we got from Egyptian authorities did give us great confidence for everything other than this outcome,” he said.
The couple said Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had assured them the Australian government would continue lobbying Egypt to free their son.
Ms Bishop earlier said she’d been advised that no appeal for clemency or a presidential pardon could occur until all legal proceedings had concluded, including any appeal.