CAIRO: The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned Sunday British Ambassador to Cairo John Casson, calling his comments on Al-Jazeera journalists’ verdict an “unacceptable interference in Egypt’s judicial rulings.”
In a press statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its rejection to Casson’s statements, where he said he was “concerned” after a three-year prison term was handed down to three Al-Jazeera journalists, one of whom in absentia.
Casson’s comments were seen as “incompatible with the diplomatic norms and practices of an authorized ambassador in a foreign country, his main mission is to maintain closer relations with the receiving state,” read the ministry’s statement.
Outside the court, Casson told the press the verdict “will weaken confidence inside and outside Egypt regarding the stability achievement in the country, that’s why Britain will follow up the developments of the case.”
He continued, “It is necessary that Egyptian authorities move fast for solution especially for the British citizens accused in the case.”
On Saturday, the court sentenced three journalists to three years in prison over terror-related charges; the verdict was widely condemned as curbing press freedom in the country.
Ambassador Casson, who assumed hispost in Egypt in August 2014, has gained a reputation for being very active on Twitter and social media.
One of Casson’s tweets in May was a subject of scrutiny by social media users who reacted to a remark that the British Embassy welcomed everyone including sons of cleaners for work.
His tweet was interpreted as referring to statements by the former Justice Minister Mahfouz Saber who said that the sons of cleaners many not be judges because a “judge should come from a respectable milieu.” Mahfouz resigned over a public anger accusing him of “inciting discrimination.”
Additional reporting by Nourhan Magdi