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Parents call for Egypt to free Australian journo

21 January 2014, 12:43

Canberra - The parents of an Australian journalist held in a Cairo prison on Tuesday called on Egyptian authorities to release their son, saying accusations against him are preposterous.

Al-Jazeera English says Australian correspondent Peter Greste, Egyptian-Canadian acting bureau chief Mohammed Fahmy and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed were only doing their jobs before they were taken into custody on 29 December.

They have been held at Tora Prison, and have been interrogated on suspicion of having unlicensed equipment and broadcasting false news that harmed national security.

Greste's parents, Lois and Juris, held a news conference in the Australian east coast city of Brisbane in which they called for their son's release.

"To think or allege that Peter or his high-achieving colleagues would jeopardize their mid-life international careers by unethical or improper practices is completely preposterous," Juris Greste said, reading from prepared statement.

"We wish the Egyptian people peace and prosperity. However, Peter's detention is most unfair and unjustifiable," he said. "Thus we respectfully but passionately ask the Egyptian prosecutor to free Peter and his colleagues immediately."

Peter Greste is an award-winning journalist who has worked for Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Reuters, CNN and BBC.

Lois Greste praised the efforts of Australia's Foreign Department. She said she had received a 20-minutes phone call from Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on the issue.

"There's no charge laid. All of the ... allegations are quite ludicrous really, because we know that Peter —he's a veteran journalist, foreign correspondent who goes in and out of countries consistently — he was only doing his job," she told ABC.

She said her son had been kept in solitary confinement for his first 15 days in custody. He was now allowed out of his cell for four hours a day to exercise and to mix with his fellow inmates, she said.

- AP


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