CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s Foreign Ministry summoned the British ambassador in Cairo on Sunday to protest comments he made after a judge sentenced three Al-Jazeera English journalists to three years prison each for reporting “false news.”

The ministry said in a statement that John Casson’s comments were “unacceptable interference” in the country’s judiciary, and “incompatible with diplomatic norms and practices.” In a post on Twitter, spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said Egypt “rejects any foreign criticism of judicial verdicts.”

The court sentenced the Canadian Mohammed Fahmy, Australian Peter Greste and Egyptian Baher Mohammed on Saturday, reigniting international criticism over the long-running case and highlighting authorities’ crackdown on free speech.

Speaking to television cameras in Arabic after the verdict, Casson said he was “shocked and concerned by the sentences,” in a case that is of “profound interest to Egyptians because it has become a symbol of the basis for stability in the new Egypt.”

“I am concerned that today’s ruling will undermine confidence in the basis of Egypt’s stability, both in Egypt and abroad,” he said.

Several other foreign diplomats at the trial also condemned the verdict, but Casson may have been the only one to speak in Arabic to domestic television stations. The United States, the European Union, the United Nations and human rights advocacy groups and press freedom organizations also sharply criticized it.

Casson’s comments were posted on the British Embassy’s Facebook page and met with a wave of negative reaction in Arabic and English. He also posted similar comments on Twitter, where he is one of the most widely-followed Western diplomats in Egypt, with nearly 28,000 followers.

The British Embassy said Casson met Hisham Seif al-Din, chief of staff to Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, at the ministry’s request on Sunday.

“Ambassador Casson explained the UK position on yesterday’s court ruling set out in statements in London and Cairo yesterday,” it said in a statement, adding that he would transmit the Egyptian side’s concerns to government ministers in London.

The trial entangled the journalists’ work in the wider political conflict between Egypt and Qatar, where Al-Jazeera is based, following the Egyptian army’s 2013 military ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

Evidence presented at the trial ventured into the absurd, including music videos and footage of animals, which defense lawyers and even the judge dismissed as irrelevant. Third party observers say no evidence proved the charges, and critics described the case as politically motivated.

Besides the “false news” charge, Judge Hassan Farid said in his ruling that he sentenced the men because they had not registered with the country’s journalist syndicate, brought in equipment without security officials’ approval and used central Cairo’s Marriott hotel as a broadcasting point without permission.

Greste was deported to Australia in February and sentenced Saturday in absentia.

The three are now seeking a pardon from President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, who has personally expressed regret over the long-running trial and the damage it has done to Egypt’s international reputation. If a pardon is not granted, they will appeal once the full verdict is released in the next 30 days.

Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, who represented Fahmy on Saturday, said she and Canadian Ambassador Troy Lulashnyk would be meeting with Egyptian officials to press for a presidential pardon.

In an interview Sunday with the BBC, Clooney urged President Sissi to issue a pardon “that would apply to all journalists, not just those who are foreign.”

She said it was ironic that “the conviction was for tarnishing Egypt’s reputation when the thing that the international community condemns Egypt for is this case and similar cases. This is what’s tarnishing Egypt’s image. I do think that he (Sissi) is aware of that and he has a way to fix it.”

“I think we all know what’s at stake,” she added. “It’s media freedom in Egypt and in the region. This is a case that’s going to set a precedent one way or another. And it’s also about the integrity of the judicial process.”

The case began in December 2013, when Egyptian security forces raided the hotel suite used by Al-Jazeera at the time to report from Egypt. Authorities arrested Fahmy, Greste and Mohammed, later charging them with allegedly being part of the Muslim Brotherhood, which authorities have declared a terrorist organization, and airing falsified footage intended to damage national security.

The three were convicted on June 23, 2014, with Greste and Fahmy sentenced to seven years in prison and Mohammed to 10 years for being found with a spent bullet casing. That ruling was later overturned on appeal by Egypt’s Court of Cassation, which said the initial proceedings were marred by violations of the defendants’ rights, but a retrial was ordered.

Two other British journalists for Al-Jazeera were also sentenced to 10 years in that original trial but managed to leave the country beforehand and could not file an appeal. Casson urged the government to take “urgent steps” to resolve their position.

The arrests came in the wake of the military’s ouster that summer of the Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president, after mass protests against his rule. Since then, Egypt has cracked down on his supporters, and accused the three journalists of being Brotherhood mouthpieces. Al-Jazeera and the journalists have denied the allegations.

At the time of the arrests, Qatar and Egypt were at odds over Doha’s support of Islamist groups and the Brotherhood. In the time since, Qatar, which funds Al-Jazeera, has expelled some Brotherhood members and made overtures toward easing tensions with Egypt, though the Qatari government continues to support some Islamists in the region.

ATLANTA (AP) — The U.S. flag flew at half-staff at Turner Field on Sunday, one day after a fan died following his fall from the upper deck into the lower-level stands during a game between the Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees.

Mary Beth Hauptle, an investigator with the Fulton County Medical Examiner, identified the victim as Gregory K. Murrey, 60, of Alpharetta, Georgia. Murrey was pronounced dead at Grady Memorial Hospital.

The Braves said Sunday they are “deeply saddened” by Murrey’s death.

“Greg was a valued and longtime season-ticket holder and an incredibly passionate Braves fan,” the team said in a statement. “This tragic loss is felt throughout Braves Country, and the thoughts and prayers of the entire Braves organization continue to go out to his family and friends.”

The Braves displayed a photo of Murrey on the videoboard and observed a moment of silence before Sunday’s game.

The fall in the seventh inning immediately followed the introduction of Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez as a pinch hitter.

Lt. Charles Hampton of the Atlanta Police Department homicide unit said foul play is not suspected at this point. He said no fans were hurt in the 200-level seats where the man fell from section 401, landing close to an area where players’ wives and families sit.

Braves president John Schuerholz said grief counselors have been made available to players’ friends and family members who witnessed the fall.

“It’s just sad and we’re all dealing with the sadness and the tragedy of it for the gentleman’s family and anybody who happened to witness it,” Schuerholz said. “It’s difficult and that’s what our focus is now.”

A Braves security officer blocked an Associated Press reporter from entering section 401 on Sunday without a ticket.

Braves second baseman Jace Peterson said his girlfriend was close to the spot Murrey fell.

“It was within 10 feet from her,” Peterson said. “So everybody whose families were here definitely experienced some part of it. It’s not good for anyone to see something like that.

“A lot of player families were right there. I heard some pretty graphic stuff. It’s not something I really want to get into. It’s just unfortunate.”

Yankees catcher Brian McCann’s mother, who is a nurse, was one of the first to assist Murrey following his fall.

“She ran to him,” said McCann, who began his career with the Braves. “She was in the mix trying to do everything she could.”

This was the third fan death from a fall at Turner Field in eight seasons. In 2013, a fan’s death was ruled a suicide; In 2008, police cited alcohol as a factor after a man died.

Major League Baseball said it had been in contact with the Braves and was monitoring the situation.

A sellout crowd of 49,243 was the largest of the season at Turner Field. The Braves are set to move into a new suburban stadium in 2017.

Schuerholz said now is not the time to say if the latest death at Turner Field would affect plans for the new stadium, including the height of the rails which line the bottom of each section of seats.

“We made our plans long before this event occurred,” Schuerholz said. “Every facility that’s getting built, there’s a great deal of communication with architects and engineers and the league in terms of abiding by league standards for the industry. We certainly will do that.”

Adam Staudacher and his girlfriend were returning to their seats near where Murrey fell.

Staudacher, 33, from Atlanta, said it appeared Murrey landed headfirst on a 3-foot-wide walkway between sections. He estimated 20 EMTs immediately surrounded the fan and began doing CPR, adding they treated him for “five to seven minutes” before taking him away.

Staudacher said he saw no movement from the fan.

“There were a ton of kids right there,” he said. “It was a disturbing scene. Disturbing doesn’t really go far enough.”

MLB has said it is studying the issue of fan safety in the wake of several people being hurt by foul balls and flying bats this season. Some players have called for more protective netting around the field.

A fan died at Turner Field on Aug. 12, 2013, after falling 85 feet from a walkway on the fourth level of the stadium. Investigators from the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office later ruled that the death of Ronald Lee Homer Jr., 30, was a suicide.

In 2008, Justin Hayes, 25, died after falling down a stairwell in Atlanta during a game against the Mets. Police said alcohol contributed to his fall that caused head injuries.

Two fans died at major league games in 2011.

In Texas, a man fell about 20 feet to the ground beyond the outfield fence trying to catch a baseball tossed his way by Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton. Shannon Stone, 39 and a firefighter in Brownwood, Texas, was attending the Rangers game with his young son.

Earlier that year, a 27-year-old man died after falling about 20 feet and striking his head on concrete during a Colorado Rockies home game. Witnesses told police the man was trying to slide down a staircase railing at Coors Field and lost his balance.

Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona said fan safety is always a concern.

“I think the powers that be are constantly trying, one, give the fans the experience they want while also making it as safe as possible,” Francona said. “People smarter than me spend a lot of time trying to make it the best it can be.”

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A San Diego County beach is open again after being shut when a shark was seen circling kayakers.

The 1 1/2-mile stretch of beach from La Jolla Cove to Scripps Pier reopened at 7 a.m. Sunday.

San Diego Fire-Rescue spokesman Lee Swanson says the beach will remain under a “shark advisory.” That means lifeguards will warn beachgoers about the Saturday sighting of the 8- to 10-foot hammerhead shark.

Swanson said Saturday that the shark appeared to be acting aggressively toward a group of kayakers and followed them into shore.

Lifeguards reviewed a video taken by a kayaker of the shark and ordered the beach closed. A marine biologist at the nearby Scripps Institution of Oceanography confirmed that the size, species and behavior of the shark warranted the closure.

TULARE, Calif. (AP) — Looking for water to flush his toilet, Tino Lozano pointed a garden hose at some buckets in the bare dirt of his yard. It’s his daily ritual now in a community built by refugees from Oklahoma’s Dust Bowl. But only a trickle came out; then a drip, then nothing more.

“There it goes,” said Lozano, a 40-year-old disabled vet, masking his desperation with a smile. “That’s how we do it in Okieville now.”

Millions of Californians are being inconvenienced in this fourth year of drought, urged to flush toilets less often, take shorter showers and let lawns turn brown. But it’s dramatically worse in places like Okieville, where wells have gone dry for many of the 100 modest homes that share cracked streets without sidewalks or streetlights in California’s Central Valley.

Farming in Tulare County brought in $8.1 billion in 2014, more than any other county in the nation, according to its agricultural commissioner. Yet 1,252 of its household wells today are dry, more than all other California counties combined.

Lozano, a 40-year-old disabled vet and family man, has worked with his neighbors to rig lines from house to house, sharing water from a well deep enough to hit the emptying aquifer below. County trucks, funded with state drought relief money, fill 2,500-gallon tanks in many yards. Residents also get containers of drinking water, stacking them in bedrooms and living rooms.

These “Third-World-type conditions” are hidden from plain sight, says Andrew Lockman, of Tulare County’s Office of Emergency Services. “It’s not an earthquake or flood where you can drive down the street and see the devastation.”

Okieville is quiet, dry and hot. Close your eyes and you’re likely to hear a rooster crow or a dog bark. Agriculture is the main employer, and for miles around, dense fields of deep green cornstalks grow as feed for dairy cows. Alfalfa, almond, oranges and grapes abound. Residents express pride in their town, and support the need for irrigation.

“They need water for the cows,” said Okieville resident and tire salesman Gilbert Arredondo. “Without dairies we wouldn’t have jobs. They produce cheese.”

For 150 years, surface canals and underground aquifers turned semi-arid regions of California green, and even in drought, the state produces most of America’s fruit, vegetables and nuts.

But the meager Sierra Nevada snowpack doesn’t replenish the rivers like it used to, and farmers are drilling ever-deeper wells to compensate for the plunge in surface water. One farm bought its own $1 million drilling rig just to ensure its supply.

So far, 15 shallower wells used by 23 homes in Okieville are depleted.

Maria Marquez, a 50-year-old widow, panicked when her shower abruptly ended in June 2014. They couldn’t afford to move, and who would buy a house without running water? Drilling her own new well would cost more than years of earnings from the food truck where she works.

Unlike Lozano, who rents his home, Marquez was eligible as a homeowner to get a tank installed for washing and flushing, to be filled each Monday by a county truck, as well as bottled water for drinking and cooking through California’s $3.7 billion drought relief program, which includes $38 million for drinking water and tanks.

“It’s our home,” said her daughter Judy Munoz, 26. “She doesn’t want to leave it behind.”

Her neighbor Christine Dunlap, 72, is among the few left with Dust Bowl roots. As with other “Okieville” communities in California, the hundreds of thousands of Midwesterners who migrated west in the 1930s were mostly replaced by migrants from Mexico after the camps evolved into permanent communities.

“We’ve got used to it,” said Dunlap, whose 170 foot-deep well ran dry in February. She’s still got family, she said, so “we consider ourselves lucky.”

California became the last state in the West to regulate groundwater when Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation ending a Gold Rush-era policy that generally let property owners take as much as they wanted. A $7.5 billion water bond measure also approved in 2014 includes $2.7 billion to boost water storage.

But sustainable alternatives remain years away, and the groundwater supplying nearly 60 percent of the state’s needs in dry years is being used up like never before.

Seeking a solution for problems in Okieville, 5 miles outside of Tulare, Maria Marquez welcomed Maria Herrera, an organizer for the nonprofit Self-Help Enterprises, who brought a team of engineers and a lawyer to address about 50 people gathered in her dirt yard. “We have a lot of important items to talk about tonight,” began Herrera.

As the night wore on, consensus seemed to grow around forming their own water district, and applying for state and federal grants to pay for two 500-foot deep wells costing about $2 million. Monthly water bills would be about $50, and everyone would get reliable water — at least until the surrounding farms dig deeper.

It would take at least two years to design and build it before water flows, engineer Owen Kubit explained.

“I don’t think we can last this summer without no water,” Arredondo said.

Others nod in frustration.

“We can pray for rain,” Kubit said.

Marquez does pray, kneeling alongside one of her granddaughters after the girl’s nightly bath.

“God, give us water so we don’t have to move,” the 4-year-old says, pressing her palms together. “God, please fill up our tank, so we don’t run out of water.”

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Associated Press video journalist Raquel Dillon and photographer Greg Bull in Tulare and reporter Alicia Chang in Los Angeles contributed to this story.

TULARE, Calif. (AP) — Looking for water to flush his toilet, Tino Lozano pointed a garden hose at some buckets on the bare dirt of his yard. It’s his daily ritual now, in a community built by refugees from Oklahoma’s epic Dust Bowl drought. But only a trickle came out; then a drip, then nothing more.

“There it goes. That was all,” said Lozano, masking his desperation with a smile. “That’s how we do it in Okieville now.”

Living with a dried-up well has turned one of life’s simplest tasks into a major chore for Lozano, a 40-year-old disabled Army veteran and family man.

Millions of Californians are being inconvenienced in this fourth year of drought, urged to flush toilets less often, take shorter showers and let lawns turn brown. But it’s dramatically worse in places like Okieville, where wells have gone dry for many of the 100 modest homes that share narrow, cracked streets without sidewalks or streetlights in a dry corner of California’s Central Valley.

Farming in Tulare County brought in $8.1 billion in 2014, more than any other county in the nation, according to its agricultural commissioner. Yet 1,252 of its household wells today are dry — more than all other California counties combined.

It’s particularly alarming in Lozano’s neighborhood, where at least 15 domestic wells used by 23 homes have dried up.

Some neighbors rig lines from house to house to share water from the remaining wells deep enough to hit the emptying aquifer below. Others benefit from state drought relief that pays for trucked-in water to fill 2,500-gallon tanks in their yards, and boxes of drinking water that get stacked in bedrooms and living rooms.

Lozano watches his sons kick a soccer ball in front of their rented home while waiting on his neighbors to free up the next few drops. He pays $50 a month to join five other homes sharing a makeshift water system that taps into a well a half-mile away.

These short-term fixes are akin to “Third-World-type conditions,” says Andrew Lockman, who runs Tulare County’s Office of Emergency Services. He calls it a long-term, hidden disaster now becoming evident in kitchen sinks and bathrooms.

“It’s not an earthquake or flood where you can drive down the street and see the devastation,” Lockman said.

Vacant lots are strewn with junk in Okieville. Close your eyes and you’re likely to hear a rooster crow or a dog bark. There’s a convenience store about a mile away, but no church or school. People here like the rural life, and proudly call it home.

For miles around, farmers grow dense fields of deep green cornstalks, to be chopped up as feed for dairy cows. Alfalfa, almond, oranges and grapes abound. Industrial agriculture is the main employer, providing jobs in surrounding farms and dairies.

“Everybody has to work,” said Gilbert Arredondo, an Okieville resident who sells tires. “They need water for the cows. Without dairies we wouldn’t have jobs. They produce cheese.”

For 150 years, irrigation from surface canals and underground aquifers turned Tulare and other naturally semi-arid regions of California green. And despite the drought, California still produces most of America’s fruits, vegetables and nuts.

But the meager Sierra Nevada snowpack no longer replenishes the rivers like it used to, and farmers are drilling ever-deeper wells to compensate for the plunge in surface water. Field workers who earn just enough to feed their families can’t afford to compete, and drillers are booked for months in any case. One farm bought its own $1 million drilling rig just to ensure its supply.

Maria Marquez, a 50-year-old widow, panicked when the stream of water in her shower turned to air in June 2014. Then she got busy working on a solution, for herself and for Okieville, which is located 5 miles outside of Tulare and is formally named Highland Acres.

She sent her adult daughters to shower at the homes of friends and relatives. Her granddaughter Yaritza, now 4, went to live with her other grandmother.

Marquez couldn’t afford to move, and who would buy a house without running water? Drilling her own new well would cost more than years of earnings from the food truck where she serves dairy workers.

“People who have money have working wells,” Marquez said, “but those of us who don’t, we’re fighting.”

She called a help line. As a homeowner, she was eligible to get a large water tank installed outside for washing and flushing, to be filled every Monday by a county truck, as well as bottled water for drinking and cooking. California’s $3.7 billion drought relief program, which includes $38 million for drinking water and tanks, mostly pays for it all.

Her neighbors Francisco and Faviola Zuniga found another supply, running a hose from their mobile home through several other properties to a well hundreds of feet away. After horses stomped on it, they repaired the hose and buried it in the sandy soil.

Even so, the water turns scalding hot from the sun. So Francisco Zuniga, who struggles to find work delivering cattle feed, showers in the darkness, when the water runs cooler, and keeps a full bucket nearby.

“The other day, shaving, the water stopped,” he said. “No pressure.”

Farmworker Jose Vazquez also relies on a hose from a neighbor’s well, and no longer gets enough to sustain his homegrown onions, garlic, cilantro, squash and chilies.

“Now, we have to buy everything,” said Vazquez. “When I don’t work, I feel sad. There’s nothing to do. I’m bored because I don’t have a garden.”

Marquez speaks very little English and never saw herself as an activist, but she has paid half the 30-year mortgage on a house she loves. She began urging neighbors to attend meetings in her yard. Some whose wells still deliver won’t come, but the numbers are growing.

“It’s our home,” said her daughter Judy Munoz, 26. “She doesn’t want to leave it behind.”

Their neighbor, Christine Dunlap, is among the few left with Dust Bowl roots. As with other “Okieville” communities in California — there’s one in Stockton, another in Bakersfield — the hundreds of thousands of Midwesterners who migrated west in the 1930s were replaced by migrants from Mexico after the camps evolved into permanent communities.

The 72-year-old with curly bangs and a ponytail proudly shows off a family portrait of her father Andrew Jackson Shahan before he followed his brothers to California and found a living milking cows. “My daddy’s on a bicycle when they was back in Oklahoma,” she drawls.

Dunlap still lives in the white house with blue trim her father-in-law built in the 1940s, and little seems to have changed in all those years, until her 170-foot well ran dry in February.

Now two huge tanks take up her front yard, sustaining seven family members.

“With a tank like this, at least we can take showers,” she said. “Lot better than what we did before, not have nothing but barrels.”

Dunlap suspected trouble was coming when her neighbors’ wells failed. She let her grass die after noticing sand in the water. Then, when she got up to make coffee one morning, her faucet ran dry.

Her family scrambled. A neighbor shared enough water for them to flush toilets and take “birdbaths,” using a bucket and a cup, until the tanks were delivered.

“We’ve got used to it,” Dunlap said. “I’ve still got my family. We can’t do a lot of things we used to do. We consider ourselves lucky.”

The state also pays for drinking water, but her family missed a month’s supply after she made a mistake on a form, and she could hardly afford to buy her own at $3 a flat. She worked 25 years at Burger King, but has been on disability since a box of frozen French fries fell on her leg.

California became the last state in the West to regulate groundwater when Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation ending a Gold Rush-era policy last year that generally let property owners take as much as they wanted. A $7.5 billion bond measure also approved in 2014 is designed to update the state’s water infrastructure, with $2.7 billion directed at storing more water in wet years.

But sustainable alternatives remain years away as local agencies devise new rules, and the groundwater supplying nearly 60 percent of the state’s needs in dry years is being used up like never before, leaving the people of Okieville to take matters into their own hands.

“We have a lot of important items to talk about tonight,” began Maria Herrera an organizer at Self-Help Enterprises, a nonprofit guiding Okieville to a permanent fix. She switched between English and Spanish as about 50 people, the largest crowd yet, settled into folding chairs, benches and barstools in Marquez’s dirt yard.

A lawyer and a team of water engineers discussed options; consensus seemed to grow around forming a water district to apply for state and federal grants to pay for two 500-foot deep wells costing about $2 million. Monthly water bills would be about $50, providing reliable water for all, at least until the surrounding farms dig deeper.

It would take at least two years to design and built it before water flows, engineer Owen Kubit said.

“I don’t think we can last this summer without no water,” Arredondo said.

Others nod in frustration.

“All I can say is we’re going to be doing everything we can,” Herrera said.

Kubit said a wet winter — if and when one comes — could bring some relief.

“We can pray for rain,” the engineer said.

Marquez does pray, kneeling alongside one of her granddaughters after the girl’s nightly bath. Leaving home was traumatic for the girl. She returned once the tank was installed, but the drought still worries her.

“God, give us water so we don’t have to move,” the 4-year-old says, pressing her palms together. “God, please fill up our tank, so we don’t run out of water.”

————

Associated Press video journalist Raquel Dillon and photographer Greg Bull in Tulare and reporter Alicia Chang in Los Angeles contributed to this story.

CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian court sentenced three Al-Jazeera English journalists to three years in prison on Saturday for broadcasting “false news,” sparking an international outcry and underlining how authorities are trampling over free speech just over a year into general-turned-politician Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s presidency.

The men are now seeking a pardon from el-Sissi, who has personally expressed regret over the long-running trial and the damage it has done to Egypt’s international reputation — saying it would have been better to simply deport the journalists. Al Jazeera said it will also appeal the verdict, once the court releases its full ruling in the next 30 days.

Canadian national Mohammed Fahmy, Australian journalist Peter Greste and Egyptian producer Baher Mohammed’s case had embroiled their work into the wider political conflict between Egypt and Qatar, where Al-Jazeera is based, following the 2013 military ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

The verdict comes just weeks after el-Sissi issued a new anti-terrorism law, which sets a sweeping definition for who could face a harsh set of punishments, including journalists who don’t toe the government line. The new law, like Saturday’s verdict, has drawn criticism from diplomats, press freedom advocates and human rights organizations.

Greste, who was deported from Egypt in February, said he believed an Egyptian appeals court would overturn the verdict, and called on el-Sissi to pardon him and his colleagues. Fahmy and Mohammed, both on hand for Saturday’s hearing, were immediately taken away by police after the hearing.

“In the absence of any evidence of wrongdoing, the only conclusion that we can come to is that this verdict was politically motivated,” Greste told reporters in Sydney on Sunday. “President Sissi now has an opportunity to undo that injustice. The eyes of the world are on Egypt.”

Mostefa Souag, Al-Jazeera’s acting director-general, also criticized the verdict, saying it “defies logic and common sense.”

“The whole case has been heavily politicized and has not been conducted in a free and fair manner,” Souag said in a statement. “There is no evidence proving that our colleagues in any way fabricated news or aided and abetted terrorist organizations and at no point during the long drawn out retrial did any of the unfounded allegations stand up to scrutiny.”

Judge Hassan Farid, in his ruling, said he sentenced the men to prison because they had not registered with the country’s journalist syndicate. He also said the men brought in equipment without security officials’ approval, had broadcast “false news” on Al-Jazeera and used a hotel as a broadcasting point without permission.

Fahmy’s wife, Marwa, broke down in tears as the verdict was read out, with others sobbing in the courtroom.

“I am asking for justice, for fairness,” she said while leaving the court. “I feel extremely disappointed because I love my country and I know that Mohammed loves his country. … It’s really hard for us.”

Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, who represented Fahmy on Saturday, said she would be meeting with Egyptian officials later in the day along with Canadian Ambassador Troy Lulashnyk to press for a presidential pardon.

“The verdict today sends a very dangerous message in Egypt,” Clooney said. “Journalists can be locked up for simply doing their job, for telling the truth and reporting the news. And it sends a dangerous message that there are judges in Egypt who will allow their courts to become instruments of political repression and propaganda.”

“We are now going to be holding in Cairo a series of meetings with government officials where we will be asking for a pardon, in this case, and if a pardon is not immediately available then deportation to Canada,” she said.

Egypt regularly pardons convicts, especially around national and religious holidays. During this summer’s holy month of Ramadan, for example, authorities pardoned 165 people arrested for breaking a much-decried law banning unauthorized protests.

Lulashnyk said Canada was deeply disappointed by the outcome and would push for Fahmy’s freedom.

“We are calling for (Fahmy’s) full and immediate release and his return to Canada, and this is now the time for the government to make that happen,” he said.

The case began in December 2013, when Egyptian security forces raided the upscale hotel suite used by Al-Jazeera at the time to report from Egypt. The journalists began using the hotel as a base of operations after the Al-Jazeera English office near Tahrir Square was raided by police. Authorities arrested Fahmy, Greste and Mohammed, later charging them with allegedly being part of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, which authorities have declared a terrorist organization, and airing falsified footage intended to damage national security.

Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, was removed from power by the military in July 2013 after mass public protests against his rule. Since Morsi’s ouster, Egypt has cracked down heavily on his supporters, and the journalists were accused of being mouthpieces for the Brotherhood. Al-Jazeera and the journalists have denied the allegations, saying they were simply reporting the news.

At the time of the journalists’ arrests, Qatar and Egypt had been increasingly at odds over Doha’s support of Islamist groups and the Brotherhood. In the time since, Qatar, which funds Al-Jazeera, has expelled some Brotherhood members and made overtures toward easing tensions with Egypt, though the Qatari government continues to support some Islamists in the region.

At trial, prosecutors used news clips about an animal hospital with donkeys and horses, and another about Christian life in Egypt, as evidence the journalists broke the law. Defense lawyers — and even the judge — dismissed the videos as irrelevant.

Nonetheless, the three men were convicted on June 23, 2014, with Greste and Fahmy sentenced to seven years in prison and Mohammed to 10 years for being found with a spent bullet casing. That ruling was later overturned on appeal by Egypt’s Court of Cassation, which said the initial proceedings were marred by violations of the defendants’ rights, but a retrial was ordered.

Three Egyptian students accused of supporting the Brotherhood with propaganda and video footage were also sentenced to three years each in the verdict, while two other people were acquitted.

On Saturday, Mohammed received an additional six months for being in possession of a “bullet,” according to the text of the court decision carried by the Egyptian state news agency MENA. It wasn’t immediately clear why Saturday’s verdict referred to a “bullet,” rather than a spent bullet casing.

The case has brought a landslide of international condemnation and calls for el-Sissi, who as military chief led the overthrow of Morsi, to intervene. Egypt deported Greste in February, though he remained charged in the case. Fahmy and Mohammed were later released on bail.

Fahmy was asked to give up his Egyptian nationality by Egyptian officials in order to qualify for deportation. It’s not clear why he wasn’t deported, though Fahmy said he thinks Canada could have pressed Cairo harder on the matter.

Angered by Al-Jazeera’s handling of the case, Fahmy has filed a lawsuit in Canada seeking $100 million from the broadcaster, saying that it put the story ahead of employee safety and used its Arabic-language channels to advocate for the Brotherhood. Al-Jazeera has said Fahmy should seek compensation from Egypt.

The European Union and the Committee to Protect Journalists criticized the verdict as well, with the advocacy group saying it was “emblematic of the threats faced by journalists in Egypt,” where it says at least 22 journalists are wrongfully behind bars.

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Associated Press writer Kristen Gelineau in Sydney contributed to this report.