Al Jazeera's Greste says relief to be free, like a 'rebirth'

Australian journalist Peter Greste speaks in public for first time after being released from Egyptian prison
Al Jazeera's Greste says relief to be free, like a 'rebirth'
Al-Jazeera channels Australian journalist Peter Greste during his trial in Cairo. (Getty Images)
By Reuters
Mon 02 Feb 2015 06:54 PM

Australian journalist Peter Greste said on Monday it was a great relief to be freed from prison in Egypt but added in an interview on Al Jazeera that he felt "incredible angst" about leaving two colleagues behind in prison.

Al Jazeera journalist Greste was released on Sunday after 400 days in a Cairo jail and later left Egypt. He is in Cyprus until he travels home to Australia.

He had been sentenced to seven years on charges that included aiding a terrorist group, security officials said.

"This (release) has been like a rebirth," he said in his first public remarks since he was freed.

Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian national Baher Mohamed remain in prison. They were jailed for between seven and 10 years on charges including spreading lies to help a terrorist organisation - a reference to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

The Interior Ministry said on its Facebook page that President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi released Greste under a decree issued in November authorising him to approve the deportation of foreign prisoners.

Greste said if it was appropriate for him to be free, it was right for his two colleagues to be free.

Asked what he would most like to do now, he said: "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. That's what's important, not the big issues."

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