Peter Greste

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Peter Greste
Peter Greste 2012 (cropped).jpg
Greste with his Peabody Award for the documentary Somalia: Land of Anarchy
BornSydney, Australia[1]
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Peter Greste
Peter Greste 2012 (cropped).jpg
Greste with his Peabody Award for the documentary Somalia: Land of Anarchy
BornSydney, Australia[1]

Peter Greste (born c.1965)[2] is a Latvian-Australian journalist and correspondent. From 1991 to 1995 he was based in London, Bosnia and South Africa, where he worked for Reuters, CNN, WTN and the BBC.

On 29 December 2013, he and two other Al Jazeera English journalists, Mohammad Fahmy and Baher Mohammad, were arrested by Egyptian authorities.[3] On 23 June 2014, Greste was found guilty by the court, and sentenced to 7 years of incarceration.[4]

Early life[edit]

Greste's ancestry is Latvian.[1] He is a dual citizen of Australia and Latvia.[5]


In 1995 he was based in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he was a correspondent for the BBC and Reuters, after which for a year he was based in Belgrade, where he was a correspondent for Reuters. He then returned to London, where he worked for BBC News 24. He was then based in Mexico, then Santiago, where he was a correspondent for the BBC.[6] He returned to Afghanistan in 2001 to cover the start of the war. After Afghanistan, he worked across the Middle East and Latin America. From 2004 he was based in Mombasa, Kenya, then Johannesburg, South Africa, followed by Nairobi, Kenya, where he has lived since 2009. In 2011, he won a Peabody Award for a documentary on Somalia. He is a correspondent for Al Jazeera English in Africa.[7][8]

Egyptian trial[edit]

Greste was arrested in Cairo with colleagues at the end of December 2013. The interior ministry said the journalists were accused of news reporting which was "damaging to national security".[9] Greste was imprisoned in Egypt in solitary confinement for a month before any formal charges were made.[10] On 29 January, it emerged that the Egyptian authorities were to charge 20 Al Jazeera journalists, including Greste, of falsifying news and having a negative impact on overseas perceptions of the country.[11] His colleagues, Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, are also imprisoned; the three men were being held in the same cell in early February 2014.[12] The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has urged the authorities in Egypt to "promptly release" the Al Jazeera staff they are holding in custody.[2]

On 21 February, Greste was refused bail and had his court case adjourned until 5 March.[13]

On 31 March, he and co-defendants Mohammed Fahmy and Baher Mohammed made a request to a judge during a hearing to be released.[3] During the hearing Greste told the judge: "The idea that I could have an association with the Muslim Brotherhood is frankly preposterous."[3]

On 23 June, Greste was found guilty by the court, and sentenced to seven years in prison. Mohammed Fahmy also received seven years and Baher Mohammed received a sentence of ten years in prison.[14] International reaction was swift and negative. US Secretary of State John Kerry was highly critical of the sentences of Greste and his co-workers, terming them "chilling and draconian" and noted he had spoken to Egyptian governmental officials including President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.[15] Al-Sisi however was unmoved. A day after the trial, and amidst the widespread international condemnation, the Egyptian president declared that he would not interfere with judicial rulings.[16]

Peter along with his Al Jazeera English colleagues are currently seen internationally as political prisoners due to the nature of the trial, the lack of applicable evidence presented and the sentences.


  1. ^ a b Ojārs Greste (2010). "Austrālijas latvietis iesakņojies Āfrikā". Laikraksts Latvietis (in Latvian) (No,92). 
  2. ^ a b "UN urges Egypt to release foreign journalists, including Peter Greste". The guardian. Australian Associated Press. 1 February 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "Canadian journalist asks Egyptian judge to free him: ‘I ask for acquittal’". Toronto Star ( 31 April 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ "Secretary Kerry: Prison sentences for Al Jazeera reporters 'deeply disturbing set-back' for Egypt". Big News Network. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  5. ^ "Peter Greste calls on Tony Abbott to speak out for imprisoned journalists". The Guardian. 5 March 2014. 
  6. ^ "Dispatches – Peter Greste". The Digital Journalist. Retrieved 26 December 2012. 
  7. ^ "Peter Greste: Biography". Crossing Continents (BBC News). 31 March 2009. Retrieved 26 December 2012. 
  8. ^ Listening Post. "Peter Greste – Al Jazeera Blogs". Retrieved 26 December 2012. 
  9. ^ "Egypt crisis: Al-Jazeera journalists arrested in Cairo". BBC News. 30 December 2013. 
  10. ^ Peter Greste (25 January 2014). "Peter Greste's letters from Egyptian jail". 
  11. ^ Patrick Kingsley (29 January 2014). "Egypt to charge al-Jazeera journalists with damaging country's reputation". The Guardian. 
  12. ^ Paul Farrell (5 February 2014). "Peter Greste and two al-Jazeera colleagues moved to same cell". The Guardian. 
  13. ^ "Egyptian court adjourns trial of Australian journalist Peter Greste". ABC News. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  14. ^ "Peter Greste trial: Al Jazeera journalist found guilty". ABC Online (Australia). 23 June 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  15. ^ "Egypt trial: Outcry over al-Jazeera trio's sentencing". BBC News. 23 June 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  16. ^ "Egypt's president says will not interfere in judicial rulings". Reuters. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 

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