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Freed Journalist Greste Wants to Continue Career

  • VOA News

Australian journalist Peter Greste is hugged by his mother Lois, left, and father Juris, right, after his arrival in Brisbane, Australia, Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015.

Australian journalist Peter Greste is hugged by his mother Lois, left, and father Juris, right, after his arrival in Brisbane, Australia, Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015.

Australian journalist Peter Greste said he wants to remain a foreign news correspondent, even after spending 400 days in an Egyptian jail on charges of broadcasting "false news."

The Al Jazeera journalist, who was deported from Egypt earlier this week, smiled broadly as he spoke at a news conference Thursday alongside his parents in his hometown of Brisbane.

"I don't want to give this up, my job up. I'm a correspondent. It's what I do. How I do it, whether I actually do… go ahead with it, I don't know. That's the way I feel right now," he said.

Greste also spoke of the difficulty in leaving behind his colleagues, Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian citizen Baher Mohamad, who remain in jail.

"It was tough, you know. We'd discussed this prospect. We knew that there was a chance that one of us would leave and some of the others would have to stay... that doesn't make it any easier," said Greste.

The journalists were arrested in December 2013 under charges they aided the banned Muslim Brotherhood and spread false news, though prosecutors provided little evidence for the accusations.

Greste said his time in detention was tough physically and mentally. But he added that he is in "pretty good health" and that he and his colleagues were not abused while in jail.

The freed journalist also said he feels no animosity towards Egypt. "Egypt is going through a very difficult time at the moment. Politically, economically, socially and so on. I understand that very, very well," he said.

The arrests and convictions of the journalists brought condemnation from rights groups and other governments. Al Jazeera insists its employees were doing their jobs reporting the news, and said after Greste's release that all three must be exonerated.

Earlier this week, Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said Fahmy's release was "imminent." Egyptian officials have also hinted Fahmy could soon be deported. His family has said this could happen on the condition that he give up his Egyptian citizenship.

It is less clear whether Mohamed will be released, since he possesses no second citizenship.

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