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Jailed Greste writes letter of thanks

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Jailed Australian journalist Peter Greste says he’s convinced that public pressure is helping in his fight for freedom.

Mr Greste has written to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten thanking him, and other MPs from across the political spectrum, for their support.

In June, Egypt jailed Mr Greste and other Al-Jazeera journalists for between seven and 10 years after being convicted of supporting the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood organisation and spreading false news.

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The convictions have been widely condemned by leaders around the world and an Egyptian court is due to hear an appeal on January 1.

Mr Greste said in his hand-written letter, read out to the Labor caucus in Canberra on Tuesday, that he had been “overwhelmed by the sheer volume of support” that the journalists’ cause had generated in parliament and the public.

“Although we remain in prison, I am convinced that the continued pressure does help, particularly as we enter the crucial appeal phase of our legal battle to overturn the convictions,” he wrote.

He said the support sprang from a “collective outrage” to the affront to freedom of expression.

“But I am also acutely aware and extremely proud of the role my family has played in keeping the issue alive.”

In conclusion, he told Mr Shorten: “Of course, no one knows how long it may take to win this battle but I am looking forward to the day hopefully very soon when I can thank you and the Australian people in person.”

His parents Lois and Juris Greste said last week they hoped Peter could return home before Christmas.

Their hope was sparked by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi telling French journalists a pardon was “under study”.

Mr Sisi has also signed a decree allowing for the extradition of foreigners charged with a crime or sentenced in Egypt.

Mr Greste’s letter, addressed from Mazraa prison in Cairo, was written in July.

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