Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague is summoning Egypt’s ambassador over the prison sentences handed down to journalists working for Al-Jazeera, including Australian Peter Greste.
“I have instructed officials to summon the Egyptian Ambassador to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office today,” Hague said in a statement.
A spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron said he was “completely appalled” by the verdicts.
The comments came after an Egyptian court sentenced three Al-Jazeera journalists including Greste to jail terms ranging from seven to 10 years, accusing them of aiding the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood.
Two British journalists working for the network, Sue Turton and Dominic Kane, were among 11 defendants being tried in absentia out of 20 overall.
They were handed 10-year sentences.
Greste and Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fadel Fahmy each got seven years, while producer Baher Mohamed received two sentences – one for seven years and another for three years.
Meanwhile, The Netherlands has summoned the Egyptian ambassador over Cairo’s heavy sentencing of several journalists, including Australian Peter Greste, for allegedly helping the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood and will raise the issue with the EU.
“I have summoned the Egyptian ambassador to the ministry and will raise this matter with my European Union colleagues in Luxembourg,” Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans said in a statement, adding that Dutch journalist Rena Netjes, who was tried in absentia, “did not get a fair trial”.