A letter to you, from an Egyptian prison cell.

Australian journalist Peter Greste faces life behind bars in Egypt — just for doing his job.

Stand up for a free press. Call on the Egyptian authorities to free Peter and his colleagues immediately.

Dear Bilal,

Two months ago, Australian journalist Peter Greste wrote this from his prison cell in Egypt:

“I am in my cold prison cell after my first official exercise session — four glorious hours in the grass yard behind our block and I don’t want that right to be snatched away.

“I’ve been locked in my cell 24 hours a day for the past 10 days, allowed out only for visits to the prosecutor for questioning, so the chance for a walk in the weak winter sunshine is precious.

“I want to cling to these tiny joys and avoid anything that might move the prison authorities to punitively withdraw them. I want to protect them almost as much as I want my freedom back.

“That is why I have sought, until now, to fight my imprisonment quietly from within, to make the authorities understand that this is all a terrible mistake, that I’ve been caught in the middle of a political struggle that is not my own.

“But after two weeks in prison it is now clear that this is a dangerous decision. It validates an attack not just on me and my two colleagues but on freedom of speech across Egypt.

Peter was arrested last December alongside al Jazeera colleagues Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed. Their crime? Airing ‘misleading news’ about Egypt’s political situation.

If convicted, they could face life in prison.

Journalism is not a crime. Call on the Egyptian authorities free Peter and his colleagues immediately.

Peter’s arrest is part of an increasingly disturbing and violent crackdown by the Egyptian authorities. Journalists, protesters, and anyone seen as a threat to the government are targets.

Thousands have been killed in the streets. And in a single shock ruling last week, 528 people were sentenced to death after only two hearings.

If Egypt has any chance at a peaceful future, it must be built on respect for human rights and the rule of law.

Peter and his colleagues are prisoners of conscience, imprisoned solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to free expression.

In Peter’s own words:

“I have no particular fight with the Egyptian government, just as I have no interest in supporting the Muslim Brotherhood or any other group here.

“But as a journalist I am committed to defending a fundamental freedom of the press that no one in my profession can credibly work without.”

Stand up for Peter and for press freedom in Egypt and around the world — tell Egypt to drop all charges and free al Jazeera staff.

For human rights,

Michael Hayworth
Crisis Campaigner
Amnesty International Australia

PS. Peter and his colleagues will face court again next Thursday. We’re determined to make our petition as huge as possible before then. Please help by signing and sharing right now.

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