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Dec 18, 5:06 PM EST

Obama raises concerns over crackdown with el-Sissi

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House says President Barack Obama has voiced concern to Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi over mass trials and the imprisonment of journalists and peaceful activists in Egypt.

In a phone call to the Egyptian leader, Obama encouraged el-Sissi to attend to the "political, economic and social aspirations of the Egyptian people."

Obama also extended condolences to the Egyptian people over recent terrorist attacks.

The call between the two leaders Thursday came amid a crackdown on dissent in Egypt. Last week, Egypt's top prosecutor referred 439 people to military tribunals for acts of violence including the killing of three policemen last year. Authorities also denied entry to a prominent American scholar arriving at Cairo's international airport.

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