Prime Minister Tony Abbott has personally intervened on behalf of imprisoned journalist Peter Greste, appealing directly to interim Egyptian President Adly Mansour for the Australian's release.
In his direct intervention in the high profile case, Fairfax Media can reveal that Mr Abbott spoke with Mr Mansour about the reporter at about 8.45pm AEDT on Thursday night.
Mr Greste is a reporter with the al-Jazeera television network and was arrested in Cairo, along with two colleagues, on December 29 last year.
Mr Abbott has thus far resisted pressure to publicly call for the release of Mr Greste, though he has condemned the detention of journalists ''going about their ordinary business''.
The plea for help comes following growing calls, including from Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek and Greens leader Christine Milne, for Mr Abbott to intervene personally in the case.
During the call, Mr Abbott asked the Egyptian President for assistance in securing the journalist's release and having the case resolved as quickly as possible.
The Prime Minister pointed out that Mr Greste had only been doing his job as a journalist and had no intention of damaging Egypt's interests.
In reply, Mr Mansour pointed out that he had recently written to Mr Greste's parents, Lois and Juris Greste, and pledged to the pair that the journalist would be subject to a fair and just legal process.
The President also promised Mr Greste would receive the support and legal assistance he needed and said he hoped the case would be resolved as soon as possible.
Mr Greste and his colleagues - bureau chief Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fadel and their Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed Fahmy - have been accused of conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood to smear Egypt's reputation.
He is also alleged to have reported falsely that Egypt was in a state of ''civil war'' and of using unlicensed equipment to defame Egypt.
On Monday, an angry Mr Greste shouted from a defendants' cage during the trial.
''We haven't seen a single shred of evidence presented in the court that could possibly justify the charges or our imprisonment - we have spent three months in prison on baseless charges," he said.
Ms Plibersek said she was very pleased Mr Abbott had reached out to Mr Mansour.
''Being a journalist is not a crime. A free press is critically important. Journalists shouldn't be put on trial or locked up for doing their job,'' she said.
''I commend the significant efforts of the Australian diplomats who are working so hard on this matter.''
Senator Milne, who had a Senate motion passed in February calling for Mr Abbott to contact Mr Mansour, welcomed the intervention.
''It was heart wrenching to hear him calling from his cage for Tony Abbott to intervene, saying that everyone from the United Nations down to the White House had already done so,'' she said.,
''No doubt the government could no longer pretend that due legal process was being followed in Egypt after more than 500 people were given the death sentence for merely attending a rally.''
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has lobbied her Egyptian counterpart, Foreign Minister Hatem Seif El-Nasr, at a nuclear security summit in Egypt this week.
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