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PM Abbott’s silence failing Australian Peter Greste

Media Release
Christine Milne 27 Feb 2014

It has been revealed in Senate Estimates this morning that Prime Minister Tony Abbott is breaking with his own precedent in continuing to stay silent on the plight of Australian journalist Peter Greste.

Mr Greste, along with 19 other reporters, have been detained in Egypt without charge since December, 2013.

Under questioning by Australian Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne, officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed the Prime Minister's office has not contacted them about Mr Greste, though it did in the case of two businessmen who were jailed in Dubai.

"Mr Abbott personally intervened with Sheik Mohammed in that case, which resulted in the conviction being reversed, but he hasn't seen the same need in the case of Peter Greste," said Senator Milne.

"It is shameful that the Prime Minister will not stand by his own precedent when it comes to helping Australians overseas."

Senator Milne points out that Mr Abbott also refused to speak up for Colin Russell, the Australian jailed in Russia after a non-violent environmental protest, despite meeting with President Putin at the time.

"Tony Abbott needs to explain why he's prepared to personally intervene for businessmen, but not for others standing up for freedom of speech and the protection of the environment," said Senator Milne.

"I thank all those people in Sydney who've attended today's rally in support of Mr Greste - keep the pressure on this country's prime minister.

"Mr Abbott says he does not get involved in overseas court cases, but today DFAT has confirmed that to be a lie.

"Tony Abbott must stop claiming to care about the freedom of the press, and start acting instead.

"Once again our Prime Minister is not cutting it at home or on the world stage."


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