The White House said that U.S. President Barack Obama has called Egyptian post-coup president and ex-army chief Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi to congratulate him on his inauguration and "to convey his commitment to working together to advance the shared interests of both countries."
According to a statement issued by the White House on sTuesday, the U.S. president "reiterated the United States' continuing support for the political, economic, and social aspirations of the Egyptian people, and respect for their universal rights."
The ruling came three days after former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was inaugurated as president, nearly a year after he toppled the country's first freely-elected leader, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Since Morsi's fall, security forces have killed hundreds of Brotherhood supporters and arrested thousands of others.
Court sentences secular activist to 15 years
Meanwhile, an Egyptian court sentenced leading activist Alaa Abdel Fattah to 15 years in jail on Wednesday for violating a protest law and on other charges, his lawyer said, a move likely to outrage human rights groups.
Abdel Fattah, 33, became a symbol of the 2011 uprising against President Hosni Mubarak through his leading role in the protests and on social media. Twenty-four other people were also sentenced to 15 years in jail on similar charges.
Rounding up secular activists like Abdel Fattah has raised concerns the authorities are turning the clock back to the Mubarak era when any form of dissent was risky.
The protest law passed last year heightened fears about the future of political freedoms in Egypt. It gives the Interior Ministry the right to ban any meeting of more than 10 people in a public place. Rights groups say it is deeply repressive.
Abdel Fattah was ordered arrested over accusations he called protests against provisions in a new constitution that allow civilians to be tried in military courts.
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