The father of Peter Greste has spoken of the boiling rage that washed over him after the Australian journalist was denied bail in an Egyptian court.
Mr Greste, who’s been behind bars in Egypt for the past two months, will remain in prison after being refused bail at his first court hearing overnight.
The 48-year-old Al-Jazeera reporter and a number of his network colleagues are accused of “airing false news” and misleading outside viewers about the situation in Egypt.
They’ve also been accused of backing the black-listed Muslim Brotherhood.
Peter’s father Juris Greste has told reporters of the dismay and anger that washed over him as his son faced court, particularly when he saw footage of the “fortress” surrounding his son, colleagues and the entire court process.
“I found myself on a fine hair-trigger,” he said in Brisbane.
“I was like a highly-fused suicide vest. I was ready to kick walls and punch faces.
“I couldn’t help but see my son inside there – a perfectly innocent person.”
In an emotion-charged press conference in Brisbane, the Grestes said they were enduring a terrible emotional ordeal.
“I’m not embarrassed to confess that I’ve had the worst 24 hours in my life,” Juris Greste told reporters.
Mr Greste’s parents said they had been overwhelmed by support.
“Parenting never ends. Parenting goes until your last breath,” Juris Greste sobbed.
Mr Greste’s mother Lois read out a consulate report of the court proceedings, which included messages he had yelled out for his family, including “I love them, stay strong”,”I’m OK” and “I feel your support”.
She said Mr Greste had been able to tell other reporters that public support was vital to his case and it was protecting them during their incarceration.
While the Grestes said they respected Egypt’s justice system, they were concerned their son’s rights as a prisoner were not being honoured, including the amount of time he was allowed to spend outside.
Juris Greste said he was disappointed he had heard little from Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Prime Minister Tony Abbott about Peter’s case in recent weeks.
Prominent London-based barrister Geoffrey Robertson QC has said the government is not doing enough to help Mr Greste and should lodge a complaint with the UN as his detainment breached international law.
The federal government has sought assurances from their Egyptian counterparts that Grestes case will be handled fairly.
“The government regrets that Mr Greste’s detention period has been extended further and that his bail application was denied by the Egyptian court.” a DFAT spokesman told AAP in a statement.
“We seek assurances from the Egyptian government that Mr Grestes case will be handled fairly and expeditiously and will respect basic standards of justice.”
Mr Greste is among 20 defendants accused of belonging to and aiding the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organisation and threatening national security.
Of the 20, only eight were present in the courtroom. The rest are at large and will be tried in absentia.
The trial was adjourned until March 5 after a 40-minute hearing.