CAIRO: The U.K. Minister for the Middle East Tobias Ellwood called on Egyptian authorities during his meeting with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi Thursday to review the case of Al Jazeera journalists and to take more steps for the political reform.
“This includes upholding the fundamental human rights guaranteed in the Egyptian constitution, such as freedom of expression, and reviewing cases such as that of the Al-Jazeera journalists,” Ellwood said in a statement issued from the U.K. embassy in Cairo.
Ellwood led a U.K. trade delegation with over 40 British companies to discuss means of investment in Egypt, the biggest mission to Cairo 10 years ago; he during his three-day visit to Cairo.
The three Al Jazeera journalists, Australian Peter Greste, Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohamed, beside 20 co-defendants were convicted of spreading false news in favor of a “terrorist group,” in reference to the Muslim Brotherhood. They were sentenced to prison sentences between seven to 10 years, and although the conviction was overturned Jan. 01, the date of a retrial has not yet been set.
The case attracted wide attention and criticism by different human rights and press organizations, who have demanded their unconditional release.
Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird who met Thursday with President al-Sisi in Cairo on expressed his hope that the Canadian Fahmy could be released from prison, Reuters reported.
Ellwood did praised Egypt’s role in combating terrorism, saying ““At such a decisive time for the region, it is in British interests to see a strong, successful Egypt built on these economic and political reforms. Egypt has an important role in the region. I welcome Egypt’s leadership as part of the coalition to defeat ISIL and the poisonous ideology of violent extremism, as well as its continued support for the Middle East Peace Process.”