President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi giving a speech on the occasion of the Tenth of Ramadan/Six of October 1973 war - Aswat Masriya
CAIRO, Nov 12 (Aswat Masriya) - Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued on Wednesday a decree allowing the deportation of foreign defendants and convicts "whenever the [state's] supreme interest necessitates so."
The deportation process needs the recommendation of Egypt's top prosecutor and the approval of the cabinet, the declaration read.
The decision comes after Egypt has faced international condemnation for imprisoning two foreign journalists in June.
A criminal court sentenced three journalists from Qatari news network Al-Jazeera to seven years in prison on June 23 on charges of defaming Egypt and spreading false news in the case known as the “Marriott Cell”.
The three defendants are Australian award-winning journalist Peter Greste, Egyptian-Canadian former BBC producer Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed. The latter was sentenced to an additional three years for arms possession.
Several human rights organisations and journalists have criticised the verdict. The United Kingdom and Netherlands have both summoned the Egyptian ambassador to protest against this “disappointing” verdict.
Commenting on the verdict, Sisi has repeatedly stressed the importance of respecting judicial rulings.
According to Egyptian laws, a presidential pardon cannot be issued until a final verdict by the court is out.
The journalists' appeals session is due on January 1.