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


Trump did not mention the case publicly when he met with Sisi., but did move to reset US relations with Egypt, hosting Sisi for talks at the White House and giving him firm backing, including in the fight against Islamist militants.

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.

USA officials had raised Hijazi's case with the Egyptians soon after Trump took office on January 20, the official said.

"I just want to let everybody know in case there was any doubt that we are very much behind President Sisi", Trump said.

President Donald Trump met Friday at the White House with an Egyptian-American charity worker who was freed after almost three years of detention in Egypt.

Aya Hijazi, an Egyptian-American aid worker, meets with President Donald Trump in the Oval office of the White House in Washington, Friday, April 21, 2017.

Hijazi, 30, sat next to Trump in the Oval Office for a meeting that also included Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump, her husband, Jared Kushner, and Dina Powell, the top White House aide who accompanied her home on a United States military jet on Thursday.

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"The case of Aya Hijazi and her co-defendants has been nothing less than a travesty of justice", Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director for Human Rights Watch, said in late March after yet another trial delay.

Aya Hijazi (center), a dual U.S. She was finally acquitted by a Cairo court on Sunday along with seven others who had worked with street children.

Hijazi was detained for 33 months - far longer than the 24-month maximum allowed under Egyptian law that a person can be held for before trial.

But when authorities read the accusations of physical and sexual abuse of the children, "that's when she started crying".

Critics had accused the Obama administration of indifference to her case. I suppose you could see how someone dealing with children on the street could momentarily get caught up in a sting against human trafficking.

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.

The family of Hijazi, who was raised in Falls Church, Virginia, repeatedly implored the Obama administration to ask for her release.