BRISBANE, Australia – The parents of an Australian journalist jailed in Egypt said Thursday they were haunted and depressed by images of their son caged in a Cairo courtroom.
Peter Greste is one of three Al-Jazeera English journalists who appeared in a Cairo court on Wednesday along with 17 other defendants on charges of joining and aiding a terrorist group and endangering national security.
Greste appeared with other defendants in a cage dock, wearing a white prison uniform.
His parents Juris and Lois Greste, who saw their son on TV and other media, told reporters in their hometown of Brisbane that while the public support in the campaign to free their son had lifted their spirits, they were horrified by the images from his court appearance.
"We cannot help being haunted and depressed by the public images of Peter and his journalist colleagues inside the court handcuffed and caged," Juris Greste said.
"It certainly shocked me," he said. "It absolutely rocked me to see him in the cage."
The father also described the harsh conditions within his son's prison cell, which he shares with the two other Al-Jazeera journalists for 23 hours a day.
The father said they had no privacy and most food that reached them was cold.
Authorities accuse Al-Jazeera of being a platform for ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi's supporters and his Muslim Brotherhood group. The network denies that, saying its journalists were only doing their jobs.