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Freed Al Jazeera Journalist on Colleagues Left Behind: ‘I Feel Incredible Angst’

“If it’s appropriate for me to be free, it’s right for all of them to be freed,” Peter Greste says

Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste spoke out Monday after being freed from an Egyptian jail Sunday following 400 days of imprisonment.

The journalist, who along with two colleagues was imprisoned at the end of 2013 on charges of conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood, called for the release of Mohammed Fahmy and Baher Mohammed, who are still in an Egyptian jail.

“Amidst all this relief, I still feel a sense of concern and worry,” Peter Greste said in an interview with Al Jazeera. “If it’s appropriate for me to be free, it’s right for all of them to be freed,” he insisted.

Greste, who upon his release was deported to his native Australia, continued that he can’t help but feel bittersweet about his release as his colleagues are left behind.

“I feel incredible angst about my colleagues, leaving them behind. There was a mix of emotion boiling inside. Sense of relief and excitement, but a stress of having to say goodbye to my colleagues.  When you spend 400 days in such close proximity with people, you get to know them really well. It was a really difficult moment walking out and leaving the prison, saying goodbye to those guys, not knowing how much longer they will have to put up with this.”

Upon Greste’s release, Al Jazeera expressed relief, but noted it isn’t enough:

“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.”