By Mick Krever, CNN
Andrew Greste, whose brother Peter was convicted and sentenced to prison along with two other al Jazeera journalists in Egypt on Monday, said he was “gutted” and “devastated.”
“Obviously it was a result that we thought, I guess, was possible. But you just can't prepare yourself really.”
Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed had been imprisoned in Cairo since December on charges that included conspiring with the Brotherhood, spreading false news and endangering national security.
Greste and Fahmy were sentenced to seven years in prison; Mohamed was sentenced to ten.
Their case has drawn worldwide condemnation from governments and journalists alike, who insist the three were simply doing their jobs, reporting the news.
“I definitely wasn't expecting such a harsh punishment,” Andrew Greste said. “You know, seven years – it's extremely difficult to understand.”
There had been some hope the former military chief in Egypt, and the country’s new president, Abdel Fatah el-Sisi, would release the journalists as a gesture of good will and his pledge for democracy.
“It all happened very quickly. The judgment was given over; it probably only took about five minutes.”
“And then very quickly after that, the three of them were removed from the cage and removed from the courtroom. So it was only a very short – you know, we made eye contact very briefly and sort of gave a fist pump and tried to signal to Peter that we'd fight, continue to fight on.”
On Tuesday, el-Sisi insisted that the Egyptian judiciary was independent and he would not step in for the journalists.
“I will not interfere in the verdicts of the justice system because the Egyptian judiciary is independent and proud,” el-Sisi said in a statement.
“I think we need a little bit of time to think about it and digest it and try and determine what the best course of action is from here on in,” Andrew Greste said.
“But obviously we're going to keep fighting it because we believe Peter's completely innocent and he's done nothing wrong and it's demonstrated by the amount of worldwide support that he's getting and the interest that has been shown in the trial and the outcome of the trial.”
Peter, he said, has been “remarkably resilient to this point.”
In April, Lois Greste – Peter’s mother – told CNN’s Fred Pleitgen, in for Christiane Amanpour, “[Peter] said they have their down days and their good days, like we do.”
In anticipation of meeting with Peter on Tuesday, Andrew said he did not know how he would find him.
“I guess we're just going to have to try and help pick him up and, you know, give him some kind of hope.”
UPDATE: Mike and Andrew Greste gave the following statement to CNN's Amanpour on Tuesday: “We saw Peter a few hours ago. He is still pretty upset and shaken by the decision but he impressed upon us that they are still feeling strong and determined as ever to clear their name. Given the overwhelming support, the Greste family has established an email account to receive letters of support, the address is: firstname.lastname@example.org These letters have helped Peter and his colleagues stay strong and motivated.”