Freed Al Jazeera journalist celebrates return home to Kenya

2015-11-06 13:40
Peter Greste, (File: AP)

Peter Greste, (File: AP)

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Nairobi - Freed Australian journalist Peter Greste said on Friday that returning to his home in Kenya almost two years after he was jailed in Egypt was one of his "happiest moments".

The Al Jazeera reporter, who works for the station's English-language channel, and who was deported from Egypt earlier this year, described his joy at seeing old friends - and sleeping in his own bed again.

Greste, along with now freed colleagues Baher Mohamed and Mohamad Fahmy, became the focus of ca global press freedom campaign.

On Friday he thanked colleagues for kickstarting the campaign in Kenya, speaking how usually fiercely rival reporters came together with "unanimity of purpose and a common sense of outrage".

Greste said he got through imprisonment - which included solitary confinement - by deciding to campaign for press freedom.

'Spreading false news'

"I miss reporting," Greste said, but added he was writing a book on how press freedom has suffered under anti-terrorist laws.

"I am still technically a fugitive, and as long as that conviction and sentence hangs over my head, it is an implicit threat to myself and other journalists," he said.

Greste was detained along with Fahmy and Mohamed in December 2013, and they were last year sentenced to between seven and 10 years in jail.

The three journalists were accused of "spreading false news" while covering demonstrations after the army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Greste was deported back to Australia in February, while Fahmy and Mohamed were pardoned in September.

Ilya Gridneff, Foreign Correspondents' Association of East Africa (FCAEA) chief said the release of the trio following the campaign to free them offered an example that action could help other jailed journalists.

"The FCAEA is proud of its efforts that started humbly in Nairobi and grew into a worldwide campaign," Gridneff said. "It shows how little things grow and that grassroots campaigns can make a difference."

Read more on:    peter greste  |  egypt  |  kenya  |  australia  |  north africa  |  east africa

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