Senate backs Greens motion in support of Peter Greste
The Australian Senate has declared support for Peter Greste and freedom of the press, endorsing a motion moved by Greens Leader Christine Milne.
"Today the Senate has called on the Egyptian Government to ensure a fair, just and timely resolution to Peter Greste's appeal process," said Senator Milne.
"There have been many encouraging signs along the way that have not come to fruition but we welcome the recent news that Egyptian President al-Sisi is considering a pardon for Peter Greste.
"This is bigger than one Australian citizen imprisoned in Egypt. It's about freedom of the press globally. It is about making sure journalists can do their jobs, wherever they do their jobs, without being in fear of losing their lives of being thrown into prison.
"It is not just the two foreign journalists in Egypt. We call on the Egyptian president to free all the Al Jazeera staff, including the Egyptian journalist who is also jailed with Peter Greste.
"It's really important that we get Peter Greste home, and that we stand up for journalists and for freedom of the press worldwide."
The following motion was agreed to, with cross-party support:
That the Senate-
(i) the fundamental principle of freedom of the press,
(ii) the arrest and protracted detention of Australian journalist, Mr Peter Greste, and his two Al Jazeera colleagues, Mr Mohamed Fahmy and Mr Baher Mohamed,
(iii) that Mr Greste and his colleagues have now been imprisoned in Cairo for 340 days, and
(iv) that an appeal date has now been set for 1 January 2015;
(b) calls on the Egyptian Government to ensure a fair, just and timely resolution to the appeal process;
(c) expresses deep support for Mr Greste and his colleagues, and their role as journalists in reporting the news without fear or favour; and
(d) welcomes the reported comments from President al-Sisi that he is considering a pardon and release in relation to this case.