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Egypt Deports Jailed Al Jazeera Journalist to Australia


Al-Jazeera English correspondent Peter Greste appears in a defendant's cage in a courtroom in the Police Institute Court House in Tora, along with several other defendants during their trial on terror charges, in Cairo, Egypt, April 22, 2014. (Hamada Elra

Al-Jazeera English correspondent Peter Greste appears in a defendant's cage in a courtroom in the Police Institute Court House in Tora, along with several other defendants during their trial on terror charges, in Cairo, Egypt, April 22, 2014. (Hamada Elra

Egypt deported an Al Jazeera journalist back to his home in Australia Sunday, releasing him from more than a year's imprisonment after his conviction of allegedly aiding the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Peter Greste left Cairo on a flight to Cyprus en route to Australia, after Egyptian officials said President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi had approved Greste's deportation.

FILE - Al-Jazeera English producer Baher Mohamed, left, Canadian-Egyptian acting Cairo bureau chief Mohammed Fahmy, center, and correspondent Peter Greste, right, appear in court during their trial on terror charges, in Cairo, Egypt.

FILE - Al-Jazeera English producer Baher Mohamed, left, Canadian-Egyptian acting Cairo bureau chief Mohammed Fahmy, center, and correspondent Peter Greste, right, appear in court during their trial on terror charges, in Cairo, Egypt.

The journalist had been imprisoned for 400 days. He had been sentenced last year to a seven-year term on terrorism-related charges in a trial that human rights groups had described as a sham.

Even with Greste's release, there was no word on the fate of two other Al Jazeera journalists who also were arrested along with Greste in December 2013. Canadian-Egyptian journalist Mohammed Fahmy is also serving a seven-year sentence, while Egyptian Mohammed Baher was handed a 10-year term for also being in possession of a fired bullet casing.

Al Jazeera issued a statement welcoming the release and demanding Egypt free its other two journalists. It said all three have to be exonerated.

The acting director general of Al Jazeera Media Network, Mostefa Souag, described Greste's detention as an incredible and unjustifiable ordeal for the journalist and his family.

The timing of Greste's release came as a surprise, just days after Egypt suffered one of the bloodiest militant attacks in years.

More than 30 members of the security forces were killed on Thursday night in Sinai, and ensuing comments from Sissi suggested he was in no mood for compromise.

Some material for this report came from Reuters.

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