Al-Jazeera journalists Canadian Mohammed Fahmy, Australian Peter Greste and Egyptian Baher Mohammed were sentenced to at least three years in prison on Saturday in a case that has been labeled everything from “disgraceful” to “farcical” by media organizations.
The three employees of Al-Jazeera English were arrested and charged back in 2013 with aiding former President Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood and spreading false news.
The arrests of the Al-Jazeera reporters came from the backlash following the coup by Egyptian military that unseated Islamist President Mohamed Morsi.
After the sentencing of the Al-Jazeera journalists, many countries made statements through ambassadors and other officials to many international news organizations condemning the sentence as political and unfair.
However, British Ambassador John Casson seems to have crossed a line by speaking in Arabic directly to Egyptian local media.
John Casson’s statement on the sentencing of the Al-Jazeera English journalist included the fact that he was “shocked and concerned by the sentences.”
He also insisted that the case was of “profound interest to Egyptians because it has become a symbol of the basis for stability in the new Egypt.”
He added, “I am concerned that today’s ruling will undermine confidence in the basis of Egypt’s stability, both in Egypt and abroad.”
While the appeal for a presidential pardon by human rights lawyer Amal Clooney and Canadian Ambassador Troy Lulashnyk will now be underway, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry has summoned John Casson to appear and answer for his statements.
The Foreign Ministry said that his comments were “unacceptable interference” in the country’s judicial process, and “incompatible with diplomatic norms and practices.”
The three Al-Jazeera journalists will now wait and hope for the appeal to be a success, but in the mean time, British Ambassador John Casson must face a judicial system which is clearly playing a political game.
What do you think will happen?