Foreign Office expresses concern over Egyptian sentencing of journalists

s216_TobiasEllwood

The Government has expressed its concern following the sentencing of three Al-Jazeera journalists in Egypt. The journalists were sentenced to three years in prison for not having the appropriate permissions although it had previously been hoped that the sentences would be commuted.

Tobias Ellwood, the Minister for Middle East and North Africa at the Foreign Office, said:

“I am deeply concerned by the sentences handed down today against journalists in Egypt. These sentences will undermine confidence in Egypt’s progress towards strong long term stability based on implementing the rights granted by the Egyptian constitution. We have repeatedly raised this case and the restrictions on freedom of expression in Egypt with ministers and senior officials. We note that the case can be appealed, and will monitor future developments closely. It is vital that the Egyptian authorities take urgent action to resolve the position of the two British nationals in this case”.

Amnesty International issued a statement saying that the sentences were “an affront to justice that sound the death knell for freedom of expression in Egypt”.