Note of thanks from @liz_beths to all who helped gain the freedom of @austingmackell ( & 2 colleagues) in #Egypt


This is from Elizabeth Humphrys ( @liz_beths on twitter ) who was pivotal in gaining support for Austin’s freedom and confirmation of his good name as a respected professional journalist.

Dear all

Late last night VERY good news came through to Sydney, when Austin tweeted from Cairo that the new Egyptian Justice Minister had advised the Australian Ambassador that the case against him was dropped and the travel ban lifted. A short time later Austin was able to confirm through his lawyer that the charges against his translator and Egyptian national Aliya Alwi, as well as US student Derek Ludovici, were also dropped.

I want to express my gratitude and thank you for lending your name to this open letter/petition – which ultimately received just shy of ten thousand signatures. Thank you for contributing to the success of this campaign!

I would like to thank Michael Brull for helping draft the original open letter, and the change.org team who provided support, advice and promoted the issue in the Australian media. Thanks should also go to Senator Lee Rhiannon and Senator Scott Ludlum from the Australian Greens, who raised this matter in the Commonwealth Parliament, and to Sydney activists Paddy Gibson and James Supple who helped organise the main public demonstration in Australia.

I’m personally very relieved for Austin, and for his family and friends, and trust this is the end of any legal issues for him in Egypt. Austin was arrested on his way to research an article for a open access social movements journal that I help edit (called ‘Interface’), and you can read his account of his arrest and ordeal in our Arab Spring special issue here: http://www.interfacejournal.net/2012/05/interface-volume-4-issue-1-the-season-of-revolution-the-arab-spring-and-european-mobilizations/.

As I’m sure Austin would want me to point out, the future is far from certain in Egypt and many of those actively campaigning for democracy (or reporting on it for the media) often do so at great personal risk. Our thoughts remain with those in Egypt, struggling and working to create a better society for all its citizens.

Best wishes and thank you again
Elizabeth Humphrys

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