Jailed Al Jazeera journalist could be released under Egypt's new extradition laws
Al Jazeera's Peter Greste could be released from a 7-year sentence under Egypt's new extradition laws. (AFP/File)
It is not yet known if Australian journalist Peter Greste could be released from his seven-year jail sentence under Egypt's new extradition laws.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued a decree on Wednesday allowing him to repatriate foreign prisoners when it was in his country's 'supreme interests'.
But Greste's boss, Al Jazeera English chief Al Anstey, said the latest twist was just another part of the confusing and unfair process.
'It defies logic, it defies justice they're still behind bars after 320 days,' he said on Thursday, reported 9 News.
Greste, was sentenced in June along with Canadian-Egyptian national Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohamed, all from the Qatar-based television network.
They were detained in December and convicted six months later of spreading lies to help a 'terrorist organisation' .
Al Jazeera declared that the accusations against the three journalists are absurd.
While 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 Janurary 1 to decide if their appeal will go ahead.
Sisi said in July that he wished the imprisoned Al Jazeera journalists had been deported and not put on trial.
He initially reacted to their sentencing by saying he would not interfere in court verdicts, but his subsequent comments suggested he might use his presidential power to pardon the journalists at the appeal.
Anstey, who is in Sydney this 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, 9News reported.
The official news agency MENA quoted the presidential spokesman Alaa Yousef as saying 'this decision comes in the framework of upholding the nation's interests and preserving Egypt's international image'.
Although, the report didn't mention the three imprisoned journalists - there are few other criminal cases involving foreigners in Egypt and none that have received as much international attention.
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