Foreign criticism of Al-Jazeera verdict is politically motivated: Egypt's foreign ministry

Ahram Online , Sunday 30 Aug 2015

The Egyptian ministry of foreign affairs lambasts international criticism over the recent Al-Jazeera staff court ruling

Sameh Shoukry
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (Reuters)

Egypt's ministry of foreign affairs said on Sunday that it completely rejects the statements issued by foreign entities criticising the Al-Jazeera staff prison sentences on Saturday.

In a statement issued on Sunday on its official Facebook page, the Egyptian foreign ministry labeled this criticism "politically motivated”, considering it an "unacceptable interference" in the Egyptian judiciary.

On Saturday, a Cairo court sentenced six defendants, including three Al-Jazeera journalists and three students, to three years in prison in the Al-Jazeera retrial case known in the media as "The Marriott Case.”

The court ruling has already garnered international criticism from some governments and international human rights organisations.

The defendants were found guilty of operating without a press license and broadcasting material harmful to Egypt.

The sentences can be appealed.

The spokesperson of the Egyptian ministry of foreign affairs Ahmed Abu Zeid also slammed those criticisms in the statement saying that Egypt is a state that upholds the law and whose constitution protects rights and freedoms.

"There is a deliberate mix up between the freedoms the Egyptian constitution protects and direct legal violations according to the law," said the statement. 

"There are ongoing attempts to falsely claim that those court rulings target press freedom when there are thousands of Egyptian and Non-Egyptian journalists working in Egypt in complete freedom," said Abu Zeid.

The court has determined that the defendants committed specific legal violations, added the foreign minister.

Abu Zeid charged that those leveling the criticism against Egypt have "a lot to be criticised for.” 

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