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WORLD – Britain’s Ambassador to Egypt summoned


British Ambassador to Egypt John Casson

Britain’s ambassador to Egypt has been summoned to the country’s foreign ministry over his “unacceptable interference” following the trial of three al-Jazeera journalists.

After Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed and Peter Greste were each jailed for three years yesterday for “spreading false news,” Ambassador John Casson said he was “shocked and concerned” by the ruling.

Egyptian authorities objected to his remarks and Casson has attended a meeting with officials.

In comments made outside the court and on Facebook, Casson said the court’s decision would “undermine confidence in Egypt’s stability”.

Egypt’s foreign ministry called his words “unacceptable interference” in the country’s judiciary.

In a statement issued after the meeting, the British Embassy in Cairo said the ambassador “explained the UK’s position on the court ruling, especially in light of the fact that two British nationals were involved in the case.”

Two British journalists working for al-Jazeera were sentenced in absentia in the original trial last year.

Canadian-Egyptian Fahmy and Egyptian Mohamed were led away to begin their sentences after the verdict was delivered.

However, Greste was deported back to his home country of Australia earlier this year and was on trial in absentia.

Giving the verdict, judge Hassan Farid said the three men were not registered journalists and had been operating from a Cairo hotel without a licence.

Their lawyers are expected to appeal.

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