Egypt’s Foreign Ministry called for John Casson, the UK ambassador in Cairo, on Sunday to condemn the comments he made following the sentencing of three Al-Jazeera journalists on Saturday.
The ministry stated that the comments made were “unacceptable interference” and that it is “incompatible with diplomatic norms and practices.”
Ahmed Abu Zeid, the Ministry’s official spokesman, took to Twitter to voice the ministry’s issues with Casson’s comments. “Egypt rejects any foreign criticism of judicial verdicts, considers it unacceptable intrusion in rulings of the Egyptian judiciary,” Abu Zeid tweeted.
While the sentencing was heavily criticized by the EU, the US and a huge network of human rights organizations, such as the UN and Amnesty International, Casson was the only one who received criticism from Egyptian authorities.
The British Embassy in Cairo stated that the Ambassador has met with Hisham Seif el-Din, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry’s chief of staff, on Sunday. “Ambassador Casson explained the UK’s stand in regards to Saturday’s verdict and clarified the comments that were made in Cairo and the London office,” stated the embassy. “The Ambassador will voice the Egyptian Foreign Ministry’s concerns to London.”
The trial of the three journalists and their sentencing has caused uproar, and as Amal Clooney put it, “is a dangerous sign.”
In an interview with BBC following the verdict, Amal Clooney said “the conviction was tarnishing Egypt’s reputation when the thing that the international community condemns Egypt for is this case and similar cases.”
“I believe we all know what’s at stake,” she added. “It’s media freedom in Egypt and in the region. This is a case that’s going to set a precedent one way or another. And it’s also about the integrity of the judicial process.”