Rinkēvičs: fight for Greste's release will go on

Latvia's Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs vowed Thursday to continue fighting for the release of jailed Latvian citizen and Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste.

Greste was convicted by a Cairo court on June 24 along with two colleagues on charges of aiding a terrorist organisation for reporting on the activities of the banned Muslim Brotherhood and handed a seven-year prison sentence that attracted widespread international criticism.

In a telephone conversation with his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop, Rinkēvičs “agreed to continue efforts to achieve that Peter Greste, Australian journalist of Latvian origin, is released as soon as possible,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.

“The ministers strongly condemned the unjust sentence of the Cairo court against Al Jazeera reporters. All circumstances have not been taken into account in the proceedings, and no direct evidence has been presented. The ministers were absolutely unanimous that efforts should be continued to achieve a fair decision,” the statement said.

“It is of vital importance to work together both in Cairo, in international organisations and in various countries across the world” Rinkēvičs said, suggesting Latvia will mainly focus on the EU, while Australia will urge other regions to raise the issue in their bilateral contacts with Egypt.

Greste, born in Australia, registered for dual citizenship in Latvia based on entitlement rights through his father after the nation regained its freedom from the collapsing Soviet Union in 1991.  

While Greste never formally collected his Latvian passport, he does possess Latvian citizenship and Latvian diplomats have repeatedly spoken out for his release while collaborating with their Australian counterparts.

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