Imprisoned Australian journalist Peter Greste’s parents are glad the start of his trial in Egypt won’t be drawn out.
The father of an Australian journalist accused of having links to the black-listed Muslim Brotherhood has welcomed an early trial date for his son in Egypt.
Egyptian authorities announced on Tuesday that Peter Greste and a group of his Al-Jazeera colleagues will face trial on February 20.
Prosecutors accuse the news crew of portraying Egypt in a state of “civil war” and “airing false news”.
Mr Greste could be jailed for up to seven years if convicted.
His parents, Lois and Juris Greste, are glad the trial will be soon.
“We are greatly heartened there will not be a long arduous wait for the next milestone to arrive,” Juris told reporters in Brisbane.
Lois said family members would soon travel to Egypt to support Peter.
She was also optimistic their son, whom they last spoke to about a month ago, would have a fair trial.
“We’ve got faith in the Egyptian judicial system,” she said.
Juris said his son was completely innocent of all the allegations and charges against him.
“Our plea is, by his character and personal values, he has never been a threat to anybody,” he said.
“Ours a peace-loving and peace-respecting family. We look forward to welcoming Peter into the arms of his loving family in the very nearest possible future.”
Since the military ousted President Mohamed Morsi in July, the county’s interim government has been incensed by Al-Jazeera’s coverage of a deadly crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood to which the deposed Islamist belongs.
On January 30, prosecutors referred to trial 20 people, including Mr Greste.
Al-Jazeera has said nine network staff are on the list of 20, meaning most of those named are not employees of the news network.
Those on trial include 16 Egyptians and four foreigners.
The foreigners, including Mr Greste, stand accused of “collaborating with the Egyptians by providing them with money, equipment, information … and airing false news aimed at informing the outside world that the country was witnessing a civil war”.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has spoken with Egyptian Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi about the issue.