Egypt President Rules Out Interfering In Al Jazeera Verdict

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi says he won't interfere in the prison sentences of three Al Jazeera journalists.
Posted at 8:31 AM, Jun 24, 2014

The one man with the power to change of the fate of the three Al Jazeera journalists sentenced to prison in Egypt says he won’t interfere. (Via U.S. Department of Defense)

Newly-elected president  Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi says he’ll respect the independence of Egypt’s judiciary and has ruled out using a presidential pardon. (Via Euronews)

A Cairo courtroom Monday sentenced Peter Greste, Mohammed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed to 7 to 10 years in prison. They were accused of spreading false news about Egypt, as well as conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood — charges the three men and Al Jazeera deny. (Via CCTV)

Their controversial convictions drew international outrage from fellow journalists, human rights groups — and the U.S. Secretary of State.

After the verdict was announced, John Kerry condemned the Egyptian government for its “chilling, draconian sentences.” (Via The Washington Post)  

​A bit awkward when you consider while in Egypt just one day before, Kerry met face-to-face with el-Sissi — and said the U.S. was ready to restore $650 million in military aid, including the delivery of 10 Apache helicopters. (Via Al Jazeera)

After Egypt’s first democratically elected president — Mohammed Morsi — was ousted last summer, the U.S. froze $1.3 billion in military aid. (Via RT

​HANNA"A decision like today's coming on the heels of Secretary Kerry's visit puts United States in an awkward light."

The Century Foundation's Michael Hanna tells PBS, at the very least, Kerry's recent visit makes for some bad optics. (ViaU.S. Department of State

Politico’s Blake Hounshell simply asks: “Did Kerry get played?”

An Egypt-based producer for the BBC writes on Twitter, Some #Egypt media linking #AJTrial verdict directly to Kerry visit, saying it was a response to US attempt to intervene in internal affairs.”

But the U.S. isn’t the only Western nation getting involved. Both the U.K. and the Netherlands have summoned their Egyptian ambassadors over the verdict.

Al-Ahram reports those ambassadors have been given talking points. They include stressing that the Al Jazeera journalists can still appeal their verdicts and emphasizing they were tried in front of civilian court with a civilian judge. 

The families of the convicted journalists are currently considering their legal options and are expected to appea.