Freedom at last: Peter Greste speaks for the first time 50



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Australian journalist Peter Greste has spoken for the first time since his release from an Egyptian prison, speaking to Al-Jazeera exclusively from Cyprus.

An Al-Jazeera journalist himself, Peter Greste said he was simply doing his job when he was imprisoned along with two other colleagues. In his first interview, he has spoken of his relief but also his angst at leaving his friends and fellow prisoners behind.

For 400 days, he waited for his release on terrorism charges he was never guilty of. Finally, on the 1st of February, Peter was told he was being deported and was quickly taken out of Egypt.

“I feel incredible angst about my colleagues, leaving them behind…Amidst all this relief, I still feel a sense of concern and worry. If it’s appropriate for me to be free, it’s right for all of them to be freed”, he told Al-Jazeera.

He also said he didn’t expect to be released and had almost assumed he would be in prison for his seven-year sentence. That was until the prison warden called him over and told him to pack his stuff. “We were settling in for a period of months behind prison for the retrial, so to be out now, with just a few minutes’ notice, really is just extraordinary”, he said.

According to SMH, Peter Greste and his colleagues Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy were found guilty of aiding a terrorist organisation, belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood opposition group, and making false news that damaged Egypt’s international reputation.

Peter looks forward to the simple things in life again – “Watching a few sunsets. I haven’t seen one of those at all for a very long time, watching the stars, feeling the sand under my toes – the little things”.

“You realise it is those little beautiful moments of life that are really precious, and spending time with my family of course,” he said. “That’s what’s important, not the big issues”.


With all of this said and done, which side should we be on? Should journalists avoid reporting in areas where they may be arrested and jailed? Does it defy common sense? Or should there be freedom of speech and action, no matter where you do it in the world? Tell us your thoughts.

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I am so glad he is free. I believe journalists should be allowed free speech as long as they have respect for others. But as long as there is news, the wrongdoers will always oppose them.

  2. So good he’s back in Australia. Free speech and reporting should always endure, but they need to be fully aware of the risks involved when reporting news from other (unstable) countries, especially reporting to outside bodies openly while still in those countries.

  3. Free speech is an extremely complex concept. The world needs to know who the person is, where the power lies, what do they stand for personally, what is their intention.

  4. All people should have free speech.Australia does but sadly many overseas people do not.

    1 REPLY
    • Free speech in Australia falls into n deaf ears so it doesn’t matter does it…. But you disappear in countries like USA China etc if you speak up against the elite

  5. That’s a very difficult thing to be so detached and not put any of your own feelings into what you are reporting on Vivienne Marjenberg

  6. Thrilled that he’s free and that he will soon be back with his family. Yes, I do believe in Journalists’ rights to free speech; however, I think in many parts of the world, the truth needs to be handled with sensitivity. Very concerned still for his two colleagues.

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