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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.

‘An extraordinary degree of resilience and strength is revealed in the intelligent voices of the family members . . . Freeing Peter powerfully conveys how differently individuals react to extreme circumstance, and how a strong family held together.’ Kate Ryan, Australian Book Review

‘This is a powerful book for myriad reasons and a timely reminder of how precious the freedom of speech, a strong press and the love of family truly are.’ Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin


I was certain that this was what we had to do

Juris Greste

Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    August 29, 2016


    288 pages

    RRP $35.00

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
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    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    August 29, 2016

    Penguin eBooks

    320 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
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    • Google Play EBook AU
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    • eBooks


JURIS The importance of a big family Christmas was something I gained from Lois, but by 2013 it was a long time since we’d had one. Peter had been working as a journalist, mostly outside Australia, for more than twenty-five years, and Mike and Andrew had their own family commitments in other parts of the country. Lois had a much more settled family life growing up than I did. I was born in Latvia and came to Australia as a refugee at the age of thirteen after the Second World War, with my mother and two younger siblings. We did the best we could, but it was with Lois’s family that I first experienced Christmas Day as a family festival, and it became all the more precious as we raised our three sons.

Continue Reading
The Long Way Home

Timeline of Greste family actions and reactions on the road to Freeing Peter.

A Small Victory

A moment of positivity in Peter Greste’s protracted, potholed road to freedom. 

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