Last night, Al Jazeera journalists Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed walked free from an Egyptian jail after being pardoned by Egyptian President Abdel Fatta el-Sisi.
By an extraordinary set of circumstances, the moment their colleague Peter Greste, who himself was imprisoned, hear the news that they’d been freed was caught on camera.
He was a guest on The Chaser’s Media Circus last night, when host Craig Reucassel interrupted the show to give Greste the news.
An amazing unexpected night on #mediacircus with Peter.Greste Malcolm Farr, Tory Shepherd, Stephen K Amos, Zoe Norton Lodge and Jules Morrow. Right at the end of the pre-record for tomorrow night’s show … after Pundemonium no less … word reaches the floor of the #freeAJstaff pardons. This is how it happened …
Posted by The Chaser on Wednesday, 23 September 2015
Currently feels: every single one of them.
Greste, Fahmy and Mohamed had been imprisoned for almost two years after being found guilty by an Egyptian court of “aiding a terrorist organisation” – the Muslim Brotherhood – which they and Al Jazeera have always maintained is false.
Aj Jazeera’s acting director general Dr. Mostefa Souag said in a statement that they were “delighted for them both and their families,” but that it was “hard to celebrate because this whole episode should not have happened in the first place.”
“They’ve lost nearly two years of their lives when they were guilty of nothing except journalism.”
“The case for seven journalists convicted in absentia continues … we urge the Egyptian authorities to quash their cases and let them too get on with their lives.”
That includes Greste, who was released in February and repatriated to Australia but whose court case continued in absentia.
Speaking to Al Jazeera, Mohamed said he would continue to fight to free other journalists still imprisoned. “This is the fight of every single professional journalist, we should stand strong,” he said. “I want to take advantage of this situation to say we have other colleagues still behind bars.”
“They are still going through the same ordeal, their families are suffering and they are suffering, the fight is not over.”
Mohamed and Fahmy were released after Fatta el-Sisi announced via Facebook he would release “100 young people trapped in issues related to the breach of the law on demonstrations and some humanitarian and health cases.”
Fahmy said that they were “surprised” about how their release was done, but that “I’m feeling ecstatic knowing that I don’t have to worry about lawyers, police officers following me all over the place and knowing that I’m going to share my apartment tonight with my beloved wife.”
Pictures: ABC / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images.
via Al Jazeera.