LONDON - Britain said on Monday it was summoning the Egyptian ambassador to protest over what it said was the "appalling" sentencing of three Al Jazeera journalists to seven years in jail.

A court in Cairo on Monday found the trio guilty of charges which included helping a "terrorist organization" by spreading lies in a case that has raised questions about Egypt's respect for media freedoms. Two British journalists were among 11 others sentenced in absentia to 10 years.

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"I am appalled by the guilty verdicts handed down today against Egyptian and international journalists in Egypt," Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement.

"I am particularly concerned by unacceptable procedural shortcomings during the trial process, including that key prosecution evidence was not made available to the defense team. Freedom of the press is a cornerstone of a stable and prosperous society."

Hague said that British ministers and diplomats would urge the Egyptian Government to review the case "as a matter of urgency" and that Britain's views would be made known to the Egyptian ambassador in a meeting on Monday.

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