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Egypt summons UK ambassador over criticism of Al Jazeera trial

Egypt summoned the British ambassador to reject as "unacceptable interference" comments he made on an Egyptian court`s decision to hand down prison sentences for three Al Jazeera journalists, state television said on Sunday.



Cairo: Egypt summoned the British ambassador to reject as "unacceptable interference" comments he made on an Egyptian court`s decision to hand down prison sentences for three Al Jazeera journalists, state television said on Sunday.

After the court on Saturday sentenced the journalists to three years imprisonment for operating without a license, British Ambassador John Casson suggested that Egypt`s stability should be built on freedom of the press and freedom of expression. 

The case has stoked an international outcry and raised questions over Egypt`s stated commitment to democracy nearly five years after an uprising toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak. 

The foreign ministry expressed its "strong objection" to Casson`s comments, describing them as an "unacceptable interference" in Egypt`s judiciary, state news agency MENA said.

The verdict, in a retrial, was issued against Mohamed Fahmy, a naturalised Canadian who has given up his Egyptian citizenship, Baher Mohamed, an Egyptian, and Peter Greste, an Australian who was deported in February.

Rights advocates say their arrest was part of a crackdown on free speech waged since the army overthrew President Mohamed Mursi, a senior Muslim Brotherhood figure, in July 2013 following mass unrest over his rule.
(Reporting by Omar Fahmy; Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Mark 

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