Diplomat notes ‘serious concern’ for Greste’s freedom

On an official state mission to Egypt Thursday, Foreign Ministry State Secretary Andrejs Pildegovičs raised the case of Peter Greste with his counterpart Deputy Foreign Minister Hatem Aziz Seif El Nasr during bilateral consultations.

After affirming the great potential for cooperation between the two countries in the fields of higher education, tourism, culture and transportation, and informing about Latvia’s priorities to be soon taken up as the presiding nation over the Council of the EU, Pildegovičs expressed “serious concern” about Latvian-Australian dual citizen Peter Greste’s detention, trial and incarceration, and hoped Egypt’s courts would again “review the case thoroughly and return his freedom.”

Also on the agenda was an exchange of information regarding the political and security situation in the Middle East. Egypt shared its analysis of the situation in Libya, Syria and the Middle East peace process. The situation in Ukraine was also discussed.

Meanwhile, Greste’s parents and brothers repeated their constant hope to see Peter home by Christmas, saying they would visit him soon around his birthday at the beginning of December.

On Thursday English-language chief Al Anstey of the Qatar-based TV network told the Australian channel 9 News 'The Egyptian authorities have it in their power to release our journalists.

'World opinion expects this to happen speedily, and for all three to be freed.'

President el-Sisi issued a decree last week allowing him to repatriate foreign prisoners when it was in his country's 'supreme interests'.

Greste's boss called it another part of the confusing and unfair process.

'It defies logic, it defies justice they're still behind bars,' he told 9 News.

Western governments and human rights groups have condemned the case, with the United Nations questioning Egypt's reputation and the independence of its judiciary.

The three journalists are appealing the convictions on the grounds of flawed evidence.

'They had videos from other news organisations, family photos, they had the Gotye music video. It was totally irrelevant to the case,' Anstey said.

The trio will have been behind bars for more than a year when they next appear in court on January 1 to decide if their appeal will go ahead.

Anstey, who was in Sydney last week to meet with Greste's family and campaign for his release, is concerned about the prisoners' appalling confinement.

'They're living a nightmare every second of every day. They've got to be set free,' he said.

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