White House condemns Egypt’s sentencing of journalists

06/23/2014 3:02 PM

06/23/2014 3:02 PM

The White House on Monday condemned Egypt’s sentencing of three Al Jazeera journalists to prison on terrorism-related charges.

“The prosecution of journalists for reporting information that does not coincide with the government of Egypt's narrative flouts the most basic standards of media freedom and represents a blow to democratic progress in Egypt,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest. “As we've said many times before, democracy is about more than elections. True democracy requires thriving democratic institutions, including a vibrant free press that is empowered to hold the government accountable to the people.”

Baher Mohammed, Mohammed Fahmy and Peter Greste were sentenced to between seven and ten years in prison.

“Perhaps most disturbing in this verdict comes as part of the succession of prosecutions and verdicts that are fundamentally incompatible with the basic precepts of human rights and democratic governance,” Earnest said. “These include the prosecution of peaceful protesters and critics of the government and a series of summary death sentences and trials that fail to achieve even a semblance of due process.”

Earnest said the United States urges the Egyptian president to pardon the journalists or commute their sentences so and grant clemency for all politically motivated sentences.

“We strongly urge President al-Sisi, in the spirit of his pledge to review all human rights legislation, to provide the protections for free expression and assembly as well as the fair trial safeguards that are required by Egypt’s international obligations,” he said.

Nation & World Videos

Join the discussion

is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service