Reuters reports U.S. lawmakers are considering decreasing aid to Egypt following the country’s convictions against three Al Jazeera journalists and death sentences for close to 200 Muslim Brotherhood members.
The chairman of the U.S. Senate subcommittee that oversees foreign aid said further funds should be withheld until Egypt’s leaders demonstrate a commitment to human rights, and a senior member of the equivalent House of Representatives panel offered legislation to redistribute some of the U.S. money.
“Withholding military aid to the Egyptian regime has let its leaders know that repressive actions and abuses of human rights and the rule of law are deeply concerning to the American people, and to many in Congress,” Vermont Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, the subcommittee chairman, said in a statement ruing Cairo’s “descent toward despotism.”
On Tuesday, Egypt’s newly elected president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, said he would not interfere with judicial verdicts, following an international outcry over lengthy prison sentences given to three al Jazeera journalists this week.
Following Monday’s ruling against Al Jazeera’s journalists, President Obama released a statement strongly condemning the verdict, calling it one that “flouts the most basic standards of media freedom and represents a blow to democratic progress in Egypt.”
TVNewser will be covering a UN Correspondents Association “Press Freedom” town hall this afternoon in New York City, which was called to discuss how to help the jailed Al Jazeera journalists.