UK
01/02/2015 14:40 GMT | Updated 01/02/2015 16:59 GMT

Peter Greste, Al Jazeera Journalist, Freed From Jail In Egypt

Australian journalist Peter Greste has been freed from an Egyptian jail after 400 days of imprisonment and has left the country, according to officials.

Mr Greste, Egyptian-Canadian Mohammed Fahmy, and Egyptian Mohammed Baher were sentenced to at least seven years in prison on terrorism-related charges last year in a trial described as a sham by rights groups.

There was no immediate word on the other two, though it appears they remain in prison.

Mr Greste boarded an EgyptAir flight to Larnaca, Cyprus that took off on Sunday afternoon.

Egypt's official news agency reported that Mr Greste was released after more than a year behind bars following a presidential "approval".

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Mr Greste's employer tweeted:

In a statement, Mostefa Souag, acting Director General of Al Jazeera Media Network said: “We’re pleased for Peter and his family that they are to be reunited.

"It has been an incredible and unjustifiable ordeal for them, and they have coped with incredible dignity. Peter’s integrity is not just intact, but has been further enhanced by the fortitude and sacrifice he has shown for his profession of informing the public.

“We will not rest until Baher and Mohamed also regain their freedom. The Egyptian authorities have it in their power to finish this properly today, and that is exactly what they must do.”

Al Jazeera English managing director Al Anstey told CNN: "There is no celebration in the release of innocent people."

A law passed late last year gave Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi the power to deport foreign defendants or convicts in the interests of "national security".

The law was mooted as a potential legal instrument with which to free the journalists.

El-Sissi had repeatedly said he wants to end the case, which has prompted a storm of international criticism.

Their case triggered hashtags of support #freeAJstaff and #journalismisnotacrime to circulate on social media, with prominent journalists posing with tape over their mouths to protest what they saw as censorship.

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