The Egyptian ambassador to Australia hopes Australian journalist Peter Greste is reunited with his family in Queensland sooner rather than later.
Egypt’s Ambassador to Australia says he hopes jailed journalist Peter Greste will be back home in Brisbane sooner rather than later.
But Hassan El-Laithy has criticised Greste’s Al Jazeera employer, accusing the media organisation of illegal broadcasts.
Dr El-Laithy has told Fairfax Media he takes Greste’s case “very seriously” and says it is interfering with his attempts to expand the $600 million trading relationship between the two countries.
“I hope when the procedures come to an end, in the courts, everything will be cleared; that’s what I really hope for. I hope he will be reunited with his family, sooner rather than later,” Dr El-Laithy said.
Greste, Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed were convicted in June of aiding the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood and spreading false news that portrayed Egypt as being in a state of “civil war”.
Greste and Fahmy received seven-year terms, while Mohamed was jailed for 10 years, in a case that sparked international outrage.
The ambassador could not specify what legal mechanisms could be used to free the journalists, or if the president would be involved, but hinted that a “strong defence team” would be “able to go through the laws to find the best ways for him”.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said last month he won’t be able to speak to the Egyptian president about clemency for Greste until his appeal is exhausted.