Egypt unpleased by British comments

Egyptian authorities have summoned the British ambassador to Egypt to discuss what it said was an “unacceptable interference in the provisions of the Egyptian judiciary”. Ambassador John Casson made comments relating to the conviction of three al-Jazeera journalists.

John Casson was quoted by al-Bawaba English as saying that 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”. The ambassador made the comment after attending a hearing on Saturday in which Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed and Peter Greste were all sentenced to three years in jail for working as journalists without a press licence.

In a post on Facebook the Egyptian foreign ministry expressed its “strong objection” to Casson’s comments, describing them as an “incompatible with the norms of diplomatic practices”.

The case of the convicted al-Jazeera journalists has been met with an international outcry and has raised questions over Egypt’s stated commitment to democracy.