Egypt has summoned British ambassador to Cairo John Casson following his comments on the sentencing of three Al- Jazeera journalists for supporting the banned Muslim Brotherhood. Canadian Mohammed Fahmy, Australian journalist Peter Greste and Egyptian producer Baher Mohammed were sentenced to three years in jail by an Egyptian court yesterday.
Casson earlier condemned the move, along with scores of the others saying Egypt's stability should not be built on a "shaky foundation which deprives people of their rights and undermines the freedom of the press and freedom of expression". Egypt has said the comments are "unacceptable interference".
The Egyptian court's sentence has sparked worldwide condemnation over press freedom and human rights. The trio were sentenced for operating without the necessary press licences and broadcasting anti-state material on the TV news channel. Rights activists say Egypt is attacking freedoms of press and free speech.
The US State Department said: "The United States is deeply disappointed and concerned by the verdict handed down by an Egyptian court to the three Al-Jazeera journalists – Mohammed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed, and Peter Greste. We urge the government of Egypt to take all available measures to redress this verdict, which undermines the very freedom of expression necessary for stability and development."