Trump greets American charity worker freed from Cairo in the Oval Office

Apr 22, 2017, 01:42

The aid worker's freedom came several weeks after Mr. Trump met with Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi at the White House.

"We are very happy to have Aya back home", Trump said, seated alongside Hijazi, who returned from Egypt late Thursday. Hijazi was released from jail on Tuesday, having been held for almost three years. Both had been in prison since May 1, 2014 on charges of child abuse and trafficking, which USA officials dismissed as false, the Post adds.

Ms Hijazi, who was born in Egypt and grew up in Falls Church, Virginia, is due to visit the White House on Friday to meet President Trump.

Aya Hijazi and Mohamed Hassanein were part of a small group of aid workers who were locked up over allegations of child abuse and trafficking charges, even though they were in Egypt on behalf of the Beladi Foundation, a nonprofit Hijazi founded to help street children in Cairo.

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She had been in custody for 33 months in violation of Egyptian law, which states that the maximum period for pretrial detention is 24 months. Hijazi, an Egyptian-American charity worker was freed after almost three years of detention in Egypt returning to the U.S., Thursday, April 20, 2017.

Trump administration officials are hailing the release as an example of the administration's "discreet diplomacy".

The family of an American woman and her Egyptian husband who were held captive for three years in Egypt are crediting President Trump for helping secure their release.

McMullen said during the trip, "senior administration officials were engaging with Egyptian officials on Aya's case".

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They were acquitted last Sunday of child abuse and trafficking charges that were dismissed as bogus by U.S. officials.

Egypt, under President Sisi's regime, has serious problems when it comes to excessive force by officials, lack of due process and suppressed civil liberties, according to the State Department, and Hijazi's unjust imprisonment was seen by many human rights activists as representative of larger problems in the country. Mursi, a Muslim Brotherhood member, had been elected the previous year.

It wasn't until Trump stepped in and reset American-Egyptian relations that any headway was reached. An administration official told the Washington Post today that there had been "assurance from the highest levels [of Sisi's government] that whatever the verdict was, Egypt would use presidential authority to send her home". I assume you all feel the same way about Trump.

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