Who is Peter Greste? Al-Jazeera journalist released after 400 days in Egyptian jail to return to Australia

The 48-year-old has finally been set free

Adam Withnall
Sunday 01 February 2015 16:32
Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste
Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste

Peter Greste worked with some of the world’s most respected news organisations before he joined al-Jazeera’s English news channel.

The 48-year-old grew up in Brisbane, Australia, but holds joint Latvian citizenship and had received messages of support from the Latvian foreign ministry.

He began his career working in Bosnia and South Africa, before moving on to cover Mexico, the Middle East and Afghanistan with the Reuters news agency and later the BBC.

Greste was appointed the BBC’s Kabul correspondent in 1995, where he documented the emergence of the Taliban, and though he was eventually brought back to London to work with BBC News 24 he was deployed to Afghanistan again after the US-led invasion in 2001.

Baher Mohamed,Mohammed Fahmy and correspondent Peter Greste (from left to right)

After 2004 he has largely reported from a base in Kenya, and has lived in the capital Nairobi since 2009.

Greste won a Peabody Award for his documentary on Somalia entitled Land of Anarchy in 2011, before landing a job with al-Jazeera in 2012, where he posted his first blog dispatch on “political brinkmanship” in Somalia in June.

He was among 20 al-Jazeera journalists arrested in late December 2013, and was later convicted on charges of falsifying news and damaging Egypt’s reputation, as well as collaborating with the Muslim Brotherhood after the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Greste says he suffered a chronic shoulder injury during his time in jail, after jailors failed to give him adequate medical care for an injury sustained prior to his arrest.

According to the BBC, Greste has written a series of open letters from the Tora Prison in Cairo describing a “new normal” in Egypt where ordinary journalism is treated as a threat.

“After more than 20 years as a foreign correspondent, I know what is safe ground. And we didn't stray anywhere near that edge,” he said.

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