Peter Greste, one of three Al Jazeera journalists convicted last summer of conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood to broadcast false news, has been released from prison and deported, the Associated Press reports.
A Cairo airport official told the AP that Greste, an Australian, was on an EgyptAir flight to Cyprus that departed early Sunday morning. The status of Greste's colleagues—Egyptian-Canadian Mohammed Fahmy and Egyptian Mohammed Baher—is unknown.
"We will not rest until Baher and Mohamed also regain their freedom," said Al Jazeera Media Network acting Director General Mostefa Souag. "The Egyptian authorities have it in their power to finish this properly today, and that is exactly what they must do."
A law passed late last year endowed Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi—who has said that he wants to end the case—with the power to deport foreign defendants or convicts in the interest of national security, the AP reports.
An interior ministry spokesman told The Guardian that the move was coordinated with the Australian embassy. "A presidential decree has been issued to deport him to continue his punishment period in Australia," the spokesman said.
The three Al Jazeera reporters are among at least 16 journalists detained in Egypt, according to Reporters Without Borders. Egyptian police report at least 16,000 political prisoners currently detained in the country, The Guardian reports, while other estimates figure that number is closer to 40,000.
[Photo credit: AP Images]