CAIRO - Newly elected Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi said on Tuesday he would not interfere with judicial verdicts, following an international outcry over lengthy prison sentences given to three Al Jazeera journalists a day earlier.
"We will not interfere in judicial rulings," Sisi said in a televised speech at a military graduation ceremony in Cairo. "We must respect judicial rulings and not criticize them even if others do not understand this."
The journalists - an Australian, a Canadian-Egyptian and an Egyptian - were each jailed for seven years on Monday for aiding a "terrorist organization", a reference to the banned Muslim Brotherhood.
The sentences were widely criticized by rights groups and Western governments, with US Secretary of State John Kerry calling them "chilling and draconian" and the UN warning of "a risk that miscarriage of justice is becoming the norm in Egypt."