Freeing Peter tells the extraordinary true story of how an ordinary Australian family took on the Egyptian government to get Peter Greste out of prison.
When Peter Greste was arrested in Egypt, his family were shocked but not panicked. Peter had been a foreign correspondent for two decades in numerous dangerous countries and been detained before. He was only in Egypt on temporary assignment – how much trouble could he be in?
A lot, it quickly became clear. Peter was put into solitary confinement, then charged with threatening national security. No evidence was ever produced, but after a sham trial he was given a seven-year sentence.
Peter’s family, meanwhile, were working to free him. Rather than wait on official channels, the Grestes were soon running an international media campaign, and for the 400 days Peter spent in prison his plight was seldom out of the headlines. The process was by no means plain sailing, nor was there always agreement, but the Grestes were galvanised rather than paralysed by the crisis.
Here each writes frankly and movingly about how they pulled together as a family, and the times they didn’t. About the daily uncertainty, the paucity of information, the strain of decision-making, the emotional visits to the prison, the incomprehensible Egyptian legal system, and the overwhelming support from every level of Australian society. Peter superbly depicts the effects of incarceration on his state of mind, and his battle not to construct a mental prison within the physical one.
Freeing Peter is an inspirational story about fortitude, resilience, and a highly functional family whose unity proved to be the saving of them.