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U.S. Criticizes 'Spurious' Charges Against Egypt's Al-Jazeera Journalists

Egyptian antigovernment protesters carry a sign outside the Egyptian television center in Cairo during demonstrations that toppled the Mubarak regime in February 2011.
The United States has criticized the Egyptian government for bringing charges against Al-Jazeera television journalists, saying Egyptian prosecutors acted with "an egregious disregard" for basic rights and freedoms.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki described the charges of "airing false news" against the 20 journalists -- including four foreigners -- as a "spurious" claim.

Eight of the journalists are being detained by the Egyptian authorities.

Psaki said Washington was "alarmed" by the reports that more journalists are now facing trial in Egypt.

She insisted that no reporters "regardless of affiliation" should be "targets of violence, intimidation, or politicized legal action."

She also called on the military-installed government to reconsider the detentions of journalists and the charges brought against them.

The charges are reportedly connected to Al-Jazeera's coverage of the Muslim Brotherhood, which Cairo formally declared a terrorist organization in December.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP