CPJ welcomes release of Al-Jazeera journalist Peter Greste

February 1, 2015 10:42 AM ET

February 1, 2015--Al-Jazeera journalist Peter Greste, who was serving a seven-year prison sentence in Egypt for "conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood," was deported today, according to Egypt's state-run news agency. Greste, who is Australian, was arrested in December 2013 with his colleagues Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Baher Mohamed.

"We welcome the release of Peter Greste," said Sherif Mansour, CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator. "We call on Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to pardon and release Greste's Al-Jazeera colleagues Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, and the other journalists still behind bars for doing their work."

The family of Fahmy, a Canadian who also applied for deportation after being convicted at the same trial as Greste and Mohamed in June last year, said on Sunday they had not heard if he will be released, according to news reports. Mohamed, who is Egyptian, is not eligible for deportation.

An Egyptian official announced today that 312 prisoners are due to be released as part of a presidential pardon commemorating the fourth anniversary of the January uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak, according to news reports. The official did not name the prisoners or give a date for their potential release.

Egypt is the sixth leading jailer of journalists in the world, with 12 imprisoned when CPJ conducted its annual prison census in December 2014. CPJ produced the documentary "Under Threat" last year, which shows the risks journalists face inside the country.

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