News National ‘My arms will be wide open’

‘My arms will be wide open’

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The mother of jailed Australian journalist Peter Greste says she will be there with her “arms wide open” on the day her son is finally freed in Egypt.

The prosecution case against Greste and his Al Jazeera colleagues Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed wrapped up overnight, with the defence set to make its case on May 15.

Greste’s parents Lois and Juris said on Sunday they were surprised to hear the judge wishing their son and his colleagues a “happy” World Press Freedom Day before again ordering them back to jail.

The May 3 day, which was proclaimed by the UN in 1993, celebrates press freedom and highlights the state of such liberty throughout the world.

“We are still trying to work out the judge’s sense of humour … whether he was just being rather cutting and sarcastic,” Mr Greste told reporters in Sydney.

The Al Jazeera journalists face charges of being part of a terrorist group and airing falsified footage intended to damage Egyptian national security.

They deny these claims.

Mr Greste said one of the most “eye-opening” aspects of the hearing overnight was that the judge appeared to be so “detached” that Fahmy had to explain to the court what journalists actually do.

The journalists now need to mount a defence against a prosecution case that was never actually made, he added.

Despite their son having spent almost 130 days in custody, Mrs Greste said he was holding up well and that ongoing media coverage had placed sustained pressure on Egyptian authorities to expedite the case.

Mr Greste said he dared not think about the possiblity that their son could be jailed for seven years.

His next “greatest concern is that the case might go into an extended period of appeal processes”, he added.

When it is all over, however, and she finally sees her son, Mrs Greste said she knows what she will do.

“I’m going to have my arms wide open and rush to give him a hug … all the things a mother would want to do.”