The United States said it was “deeply disappointed and concerned” after an Egyptian court sentenced three Al-Jazeera reporters to three years in prison Saturday, calling for the ruling to be overturned.
“We urge the government of Egypt to take all available measures to redress this verdict, which undermines the very freedom of expression necessary for stability and development,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.
Washington added its heft to growing international outrage at the ruling after the Cairo court said the trio had broadcast “false” news that harmed Egypt.
“The United States is deeply disappointed and concerned by the verdict handed down by an Egyptian court to the three Al-Jazeera journalists — Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed, and Peter Greste,” said Kirby.
“The freedom of the press to investigate, report, and comment – even when its perspective is unpopular or disputed – is fundamental to any free society and essential to democratic development.”
The Canadian Fahmy and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed were in court for the verdict, while Greste, an Australian, was tried in absentia after being deported early this year.