The Dominion Post

Journalist’s jog cut short with news of freedom

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PETER GRESTE was jogging in a prison corridor when the news he was to be freed took him by surprise, his father says.

Greste, an Australian journalist who worked for Al Jazeera, ‘‘was just as surprised as anybody that he was asked to pack his small amount of gear and be ready to leave’’, his father, Juris Greste, said yesterday.

The journalist, who was jailed with two colleagues on trumpedup terrorism charges, was jogging in Tora prison in Cairo when a guard told him prison officials wanted to see him.

‘‘I’ll just finish my run,’’ Greste replied, The Australian newspaper reported. His morning runs had become a sacred respite from his stiflingly hot cell. ‘‘No,’’ the guard said. ‘‘He needs to see you now.’’

Greste took minutes to pack more than a year’s worth of letters, possession­s and documents relating to the internatio­nal relations masters degree he studied while in prison.

Greste flew to Cyprus, accompanie­d by his brother Andrew and Australian consular officials. He is expected to remain there for a few days to recuperate.

His mother, Lois Greste, said he had feasted on beer and pork on arrival in Cyprus and would probably want beer and prawns when he got home. ‘‘There’ll be a tear or two shed, I think,’’ she told a press conference in Brisbane.

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera reported last night that Egypt could free Greste’s colleague, CanadianEg­yptian journalist Mohamed Fahmy, within hours.

Fahmy has renounced Egyptian citizenshi­p.

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