Monday, February 17, 2014

A plea to help free Australian journalist Peter Greste and his colleagues

Sou | 1:40 PM Feel free to comment!

I just received this email.  I know it's not your normal fare, but this is not a normal situation.  Maybe some of my readers can help Peter Greste and his colleagues, who are facing long terms in an Egyptian prison simply for doing their jobs as journalists.  All you have to do is sign this petition on the Avaaz website.  It might just be enough to make all the difference.

Dear Avaaz members,
My son Peter has spent 44 days in a high security prison in Egypt! His only crime was being a journalist. In days he faces trial, but public support in Australia can set him free. Please support my wife & I and sign this petition now.
My name is Juris, I’m from Brisbane. 44 days ago my son was thrown into solitary confinement in an Egyptian jail for spreading “false news.” It’s a nightmare. His mother & I don't know when we’ll see him again. International pressure has already helped speed up Peter’s case, but we need your help to get him free.  
In days Peter will be brought in front of a judge and could be locked up for years. He’s done nothing wrong, but in Egypt this might not be enough. He was simply working for a TV channel the government dislikes - Al Jazeera. Our best chance of seeing him again soon is if thousands of Aussies join us and ask the powerful head of Egypt’s army to show compassion and set Peter free. 
There is hope for Peter - if we act fast. We’re hearing that the Egyptian government is feeling the international pressure as a result of their handling of the situation. Please help us and sign this urgent petition supporting our request to have Peter released as soon as possible:
Peter was working from a hotel room in Cairo when the police arrested him and two of his colleagues from Al Jazeera. The previous Al Jazeera office had been raided and ransacked weeks earlier. Peter and his colleagues are accused of supporting the opposition in Egypt -- which the interim-government calls “terrorists” -- for portraying Egypt in a state of ‘‘civil war’’ and ‘‘airing false news’’. I think most people would call it journalism.
My wife & I have been Avaaz members for many years, and supported many campaigns, but never thought our son would be the subject of one of them. We have been reserved in our public pleas before the trial begins. But our feeling is that the time is right to ask for public support against Peter’s wrongful imprisonment and charges. Please help us to send a message to the Egyptian government that Peter’s arrest is unbecoming of a civil society.
We hope that, if many Australians rally together, this nightmare will be over soon and we can bring Peter home and help his colleagues as well. Please sign the petition and share it with all your friends and family to spread the word:
While our focus is of course on getting our son home, there's more than just this at stake. His arrest is a violation of fundamental democratic principles and practices. We very much appreciate the opportunity of engaging all of your help in this (I almost wrote 'struggle') campaign. 
With your support, we dearly hope that the painstaking days of waiting and hoping for his release come to an end soon. 
The Greste family: Juris, Lois, Andrew, Mike and the rest from Brisbane, with the Avaaz team


Al Jazeera reporter's father in a plea to Egypt (Al Jazeera)

Egypt sets trial date for Peter Greste and Al Jazeera colleagues (ABC)
Australian journalist Peter Greste's Egyptian trial set for next week (The Guardian)

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