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Parents Of Jailed Journalist Horrified By Images Of Son In Court

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PETER GRESTE
Australian journalist Peter Greste of Al-Jazeera looks on standing inside the defendants cage during his trial for allegedly supporting the Muslim Brotherhood at Cairo's Tora prison on March 5, 2014. The high-profile case that sparked a global outcry over muzzling of the press is seen as a test of the military-installed government's tolerance of independent media, with activists fearing a return to autocracy three years after the Arab Spring uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak. AFP PHOTO / KHAL | KHALED DESOUKI via Getty Images

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — The parents of jailed Australian journalist Peter Greste said on Thursday they were haunted and depressed by images of him caged in an Egyptian court.

Greste is one of three Al-Jazeera English journalists who appeared in a Cairo court on Wednesday along with 17 other defendants on charges accusing them 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 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.

"It certainly shocked me," Juris Greste 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.