Ban ‘deeply regrets’ Egyptian court decision to uphold sentences of Al Jazeera journalists

Photo: UNAMI

Photo: UNAMI

New York, 30 August 2015 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed “deep regret’ over the decision by the Egyptian court of Cassation to uphold the sentencing of several Al Jazeera journalists and has reiterated his appeal for their cases to be resolved expeditiously and in accordance with the country’s international obligations to protect free expression.

In a statement issued last evening by his spokesperson in New York, the Secretary-General expressed deep regret over the sentencing of Al Jazeera journalists Baher Mohamed, Mohamed Fahmy, and Peter Greste (in absentia), as well as others.

“The Secretary-General recalls his earlier appeals for their cases to be resolved expeditiously and in accordance with Egypt’s international obligations to protect freedom of expression and association and in full observance of due process guarantees,” added the statement, underscoring the importance of pluralism and respect for fundamental freedoms for the long-term prosperity and stability of Egypt.

The two journalists were initially arrested in 2013 along with their Australian colleague, Peter Greste, for carrying out legitimate news reporting activities, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and were subsequently convicted and sentenced in June 2014 by an Egyptian court.