Spicer: Trump personally involved in pressing for aid worker's release

Adjust Comment Print

Egyptian American charity worker, Aya Hijazi - who has been in imprisoned in Cairo for three years and became the global face of Egypt's crackdown on civil society - was released late Thursday following a series of quiet negotiations between Trump and Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, per the Washington Post.

Trump did not publicly mention the case when he met with Sisi, but a senior White House official said ahead of the meeting that the case would be addressed.

She was flown to the US after being acquitted by a Cairo court of human trafficking charges stemming from her work with street children.

US Secretary of Defense James Mattis meets Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and top brass in Cairo on Thursday, pledging support for the American ally on his first regional tour.

"Trump's biggest concern is not having United States citizens imprisoned and he told this explicitly to Sisi".

US President Donald Trump reportedly ordered Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to release a US-Egyptian charity worker accused of human trafficking and sexually abusing children.

He made no reference to U.S. efforts to negotiate Hijazi's release.

IS launches 'chlorine gas attacks' in western Mosul
Humanitarian conditions in the Iraqi city of Mosul have been deteriorating amid fierce battles between the Iraqi forces and Daesh. This is the second time in two days that the terrorists have used chemical agents to push back government forces in Mosul.

Hijazi, who co-founded a charity which helps Cairo street children, was arrested in May 2014 and has been in jail pending the outcome of the trial.

Ms Hijazi, a U.S. citizen with dual nationality, and her Egyptian husband, Mohamed Hassanein, set up the Belady Foundation in 2013 to aid street children.

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

The Obama administration had also called for Hijazi's release. But the former president had a tough stance on Sisi, including barring him from the White House over Egypt's human rights policies.

Hijazi, a dual national, was born in Egypt and grew up in Falls Church, Virginia, a Washington suburb.

According to one report, Barack Obama tried negotiating terms of her release several years ago but failed. "Whether it's street children in Egypt or for any causes, once they're back on their feet, they'll be committed and working to make the world a better place".