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Jailed Al-Jazeera journalist Greste to appeal Egyptian courts

Family of jailed journalist announce they plan to appeal his incarceration
Peter Greste was held without charge for months before receiving seven-year sentence (AFP)
Australian journalist Peter Greste, who has been jailed in Engypt, will lodge an appeal against the conviction and seven-year sentence handed down by an Egyptian court, his family said Friday.

Greste and two Al-Jazeera colleagues - Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian national Baher Mohamed - were jailed last month for defaming Egypt and aiding banned Islamists.

The case sparked a global outcry and demands for a presidential pardon amid claims that the trial was politically motivated. 

Egypt President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has said he cannot consider a plea of clemency or a pardon until all legal proceedings have been concluded, and that includes an appeal.

"We intend to appeal the verdict through the formal channels of the Egyptian legal system," Greste's brother Mike told reporters. 

"It wasn't a decision that was made lightly," he added, knowing an appeal could take months to make its way through the courts.

The Al-Jazeera ruling is just one of a long line of controversies that has stoke concern in Egypt among rights groups since a 2011 uprising toppled long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Since the army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, political unrest has reached unprecedented levels in Egypt, with more than 1,400 people killed and at least 15,000 jailed in a government crackdown.

In a joint statement with imprisoned colleague Baher Mohamed, Peter Greste begged supporters around the world to continue fighting for him and other jailed journalists. Their jailing has sparked widspread global social media campaigns and various petitions, organised by human rights groups. 

"As long as we remain behind bars, all of Egypt's press works with the threat of imprisonment hanging over it, and the nation's fledgling democracy wears a muzzle," they wrote. 

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