US urges Egypt to uphold press freedom ahead of Jazeera verdict
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shokri (R) - Photo courtesy of US Department of State website

CAIRO: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged Egypt to uphold press freedoms on a surprise visit to Cairo Sunday, the eve of a verdict in the trial of Al Jazeera journalists.

On Monday, an Egyptian court is due to deliver its ruling in the trial of three Al Jazeera journalists and 17 other co-defendants, accused of aiding the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood in a case that has sparked an international outcry.

“I emphasized also our strong support for upholding the universal rights and freedoms of all Egyptians including freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association,” Kerry said at a news conference in Cairo.

“We also discussed the essential role of a vibrant civil society, free press, rule of law and due process in a democracy,” he said referring to his talks with Egyptian leaders including President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

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