Australian journalist jailed in Egypt to appeal

AFP
Al-Jazeera news channel's Australian journalist Peter Greste stands inside the defendants cage during his trial for allegedly supporting the Muslim Brotherhood on June 23, 2014 at the police institute near Cairo's Tora prison
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Al-Jazeera news channel's Australian journalist Peter Greste stands inside the defendants cage during his trial for allegedly supporting the Muslim Brotherhood on June 23, 2014 at the police institute near Cairo's Tora prison (AFP Photo/Khaled Desouki)

Jailed Australian journalist Peter Greste will lodge an appeal against the conviction and seven-year sentence handed down by an Egyptian court, his family said Friday.

Greste and two Al-Jazeera colleagues -- Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian national Baher Mohamed -- were jailed last month for defaming Egypt and aiding banned Islamists.

The case sparked a global outcry and demands for a presidential pardon amid claims it was a politically motivated trial.

Egypt President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has said he cannot consider a plea of clemency or a pardon until all legal proceedings have been concluded, and that includes an appeal.

"We intend to appeal the verdict through the formal channels of the Egyptian legal system," his brother Mike announced.

"It wasn't a decision that was made lightly," he added, knowing an appeal could take months to make its way through the courts.

The Al-Jazeera ruling was the latest issue in Egypt to stoke concern among rights groups since a 2011 uprising toppled long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Since the army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, political unrest has reached unprecedented levels in Egypt, with more than 1,400 people killed and at least 15,000 jailed in a government crackdown.

In a joint statement with imprisoned colleague Baher Mohamed, Peter Greste begged supporters around the world to continue fighting for him and other jailed journalists.

"As long as we remain behind bars, all of Egypt's press works with the threat of imprisonment hanging over it, and the nation's fledgling democracy wears a muzzle," they wrote.

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