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UK to summon Egypt envoy over 'unacceptable' journalist sentences: Foreign Secretary

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague calls on Egypt to reconsider jail terms for Al Jazeera journalists, respect press freedoms

Ayat Al-Tawy, Monday 23 Jun 2014
Foreign secretary William Hague
Foreign secretary William Hague (Photo: Reuters)
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The UK says it will summon the Egyptian ambassador to London over Cairo's "appalling and "unacceptable" jailing of several journalists, including an Australian, over allegations of reporting false news and aiding or joining the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood group.

"I am appalled by the guilty verdicts handed down today against Egyptian and international journalists in Egypt," UK Foreign Minister William Hague said in a statement released after Monday's verdict.

A Cairo court on Monday sentenced three Al Jazeera journalists, including award-winning Australian Peter Greste, to at least seven years in jail on charges of spreading false news," falsely portraying Egypt as being in a state of "civil war," as well as aiding or joining the now-banned Brotherhood.

"I am particularly concerned by unacceptable procedural shortcomings during the trial process, including that key prosecution evidence was not made available to the defence team. Freedom of the press is a cornerstone of a stable and prosperous society," Hague said in the statement.

The foreign minister said that British ministers and diplomats would continue to urge the Egyptian authorities to review the case "as a matter of urgency".

Hague took to Twitter shortly after the court ruling to announce that the Egyptian envoy in London would be summoned, adding that Egypt should "show commitment to freedom of the press".


 

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