Egyptian-American Aid Worker, Released From Cairo Jail, Returns To U.S.

Posted April 22, 2017

Trump and his aides worked for several weeks with Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sissi to secure the freedom of Hijazi, 30, a USA citizen, as well as her husband, Mohamed Hassanein, who is Egyptian, and four other humanitarian workers.

The breakthrough in Hijazi's case comes after the president earlier this month welcomed Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to the White House.

"We're very grateful that President Trump personally engaged with the issue", Aya's brother Basel Hijazi said in a telephone interview while onboard the plane.

The process bore fruit last Sunday when a Cairo court announced that it was dropping all charges against Hijazi and her husband, as well as all the other humanitarian workers. Thank God for Aya Hijazi's freedom, and thank God for President Donald Trump.

An Egyptian-American woman detained in Egypt for almost three years on human trafficking charges was flown back to the United States on Thursday on a USA military plane, accompanied by a top White House official, a senior administration official said.

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Trump's recent welcome of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi, who has been widely criticized for cracking down on dissent and freedom of expression in his country, marked a significant thaw in relations between the US and Egypt.

Without knowing the particulars of the case, these charges against Hijazi sound about as trumped up as you're ever going to hear.

"We are very happy to have Aya back home, and it's a great honor to have her in the Oval Office", Trump said on Friday during the meeting at the White House. Two administration officials, however, told the Times that the government was quietly working to have Hijazi returned to the United States.

"We understand the concern, and I think those are the kind of things that I believe progress is made privately", Spicer had told reporters as Sisi was visiting with Trump. She founded Belady, a non-governmental organisation that promotes a better life for street children.

He added that Hijazi was set to meet Trump, along with Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, on Friday morning.

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Following her release, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Thursday he was optimistic about improving military ties with Egypt after talks in Cairo with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, following a period of strain under the Obama administration.

In 2015, Hijazi's mother told NPR that after her daughter was arrested, the children she used to help are "back on the streets".

At that point Trump ordered that a USA government aircraft be dispatched to bring them all home.

"She was kept in pretty isolating circumstances" and "not even her lawyers can have time with her", McMullen said of Hijazi, who was born in Egypt and grew up in Falls Church, Virginia.

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