CAIRO – Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said Tuesday he will not interfere in court rulings, rebuffing calls from the United States and other Western governments that he pardon or commute the sentences of three Al-Jazeera journalists handed heavy prison terms a day earlier.
The White House said the ruling “flouts the most basic standards of media freedom” and was a “blow to democratic progress.” It called on el-Sissi to intervene to bring about the immediate release of the three — Australian Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohammed.
Australia and other governments have also urged el-Sissi to do so for the three journalists, whose families have said they will appeal. Appeals could take months, and the three are likely to remain in prison during the process.
In a televised address to graduating military cadets, el-Sissi said, “We will not interfere in court verdicts” — repeating the phrase twice…
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