Egypt's foreign ministry reiterates refusal of 'foreign interference' in wake of activists case

Marina Barsoum , Wednesday 25 Dec 2013

Foreign ministry spokesman says foreign interference in Egypt's domestic affairs is unacceptable

Spokesperson of the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Badr Abdel Atti expressed his refusal of foreign interference in Egypt's domestic affairs shortly after the EU expressed concern at the jailing of three prominent activists.

"The foreign ministry has explicitly expressed its opinion in a statement Wednesday about Egypt's position; the statement included that neither a state, organisation nor an institution should interfere in internal Egyptian affairs," Abdel Atti told Ahram Online.

This is not the first time the ministry has condemned the intervention of a foreign state or institution in the internal affairs of the country. The ministry has expressed similar sentiments whenever Western powers commented on developments on Egypt's politcal scene.

On Sunday, a court sentenced April 6 Youth Movement leading figures Ahmed Maher and Mohamed Adel, and revolutionary activist Ahmed Douma, to three years in jail and a LE50,000 fine.

The trio were convicted of assaulting police officers during a demonstration outside a Cairo court where Maher was handing himself in for questioning over allegations he had organised an illegal protest. They were also convicted of organising illegal protests.

"It is unacceptable that any external party comment on the provisions of the judiciary; also the principles of democracy in a democratic country are the separation of powers and respect for court verdicts," Abdel Atti added.   

Abdel Atti's comment came after Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, said of the case that "these sentences could be reviewed in an appeals process."

Sebastien Brabant, a spokesman for Ashton, said that the court sentences appear to be based on the recently enacted protest law, which is widely seen as excessively limiting freedom of expression.

Ashton criticised the protest law 1 December, warning it could hinder the country's transition to democracy.

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