We have noticed you are using an ad blocker
To continue providing news and award winning journalism, we rely on advertising revenue.
To continue reading, please turn off your ad blocker or whitelist us.
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has said he wished three Al Jazeera journalists imprisoned in Cairo had been deported after their arrest rather than being put to trial.
The president's comment come a few weeks after journalists Peter Greste and Mohamed Fahmy were sentenced to seven years in prison by a Cairo court, while producer Baher Mohamed was sentenced to 10 years.
"The verdict had very negative effects," Sisi was quoted as saying by Egypt's Al-Masry Al-Youm private newspaper, during a meeting with local journalists on Sunday.
The journalists - detained in Egypt since last December - were accused of reporting "false news" and aiding the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt's new government has branded a terrorist organisation.
Baher Mohamed was sentenced to additional three years for allegedly possessing ammunitions.
Greste's brother told Reuters he was heartened by Sisi's latest comment.
"I'm sure images of Peter in the cage in the court are not images Egypt really wants distributed around the world," Andrew Greste said. "And the publicity they're getting out of this I'm sure is not the publicity any country would want."
Sisi initially said in June he was not going to interfere with the Cairo court's ruling, saying Egypt's justice system is "independent and splendid".
"We must respect judicial rulings and not criticise them even if others do not understand this," Sisi added.
The verdict sparked international outcry and was condemned by human rights activists and NGOs.
Amnesty International defined the conviction as "a ferocious attack on media freedom".
Al Jazeera English managing director Al Anstey said: "There is no justification whatsoever in the detention of our three colleagues for even one minute. To have detained them for 177 days is an outrage. To have sentenced them defies logic, sense, and any semblance of justice."
Al Jazeera - funded by the House of Thani, Qatar's ruling family - is currently banned from operating inside Egypt as it is seen as widely supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood.