The Egyptian Foreign Ministry called on western nations not to interfere in Egypt’s judicial affairs, and to direct their efforts to combating their respective issues, in a statement issued Tuesday.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls on these countries, which claim for themselves the right to evaluate and criticize sentences issued by independent judicial bodies and which appoint themselves as sponsors of the situation of human rights in the world, to focus their efforts on the conditions of their own people and to combat the phenomena of racism against certain segments of the population that has appeared their countries,” the statement read.
The US State Department issued a statement on Saturday, saying the US government is “deeply disappointed” about the life sentence handed down to Mohamed Soltan, a high-profile Egyptian-American detainee who has been on hunger strike since January 2014 in protest against his detention, to the severe detriment of his health. He was arrested on August 25, 2013, along with several friends when the police raided his home in search of his father.
Soltan was sentenced to life in prison alongside 36 others by the Giza Criminal Court on in what became known as the “Rabea operations room” case. He was convicted on charges of establishing an operations room for Brotherhood members to confront authorities and spread chaos after the deadly dispersal of the Rabea al-Adaweya and Nahda Square sit-ins in August 2013.
Fourteen others were also sentenced to death in the same case, including Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie.
“We remain deeply concerned about Mr. Soltan’s health and detention. The United States reiterates our call for the release of Mr. Soltan on humanitarian grounds, and we urge the government of Egypt to redress this verdict,” the statement read.
On Monday, at the US State Department press briefing, spokesperson Marie Harf reiterated the US’ concern, saying it remains “troubled by the practice of mass trials and sentencing, which we’ve said run counter to what we think due process under the law should look like.”
Harf maintained that US military aid to Egypt doesn’t represent “endorsement of the government of Egypt’s approach to domestic dissent.”
She added that while the US acknowledges that the threats to Egypt’s security have increased over the past few months, it still speaks out against the human rights situation.
In its statement, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry expressed its “dismay” at the reactions of some foreign countries, “especially in light of the deliberate distortion of facts and inaccurate portrayals that characterize these reactions.”
The Foreign Ministry said such reactions overlook the efficiency, competence and independence of the Egyptian judicial authorities. They also overlook the charges leveled against the defendants and reflect ignorance of court proceedings, according to the statement.
The Ministry deemed the reactions as “flagrant interference” in Egypt’s judicial affairs and a violation of its sovereignty.