President Donald Trump won the release of an Egyptian American aid worker who was wrongly thrown into an Egyptian jail for three years. She returned to the US late Thursday after being imprisoned in Cairo for three years, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.
The Daily Mail reported.
- Aya Hijazi, 30, was acquitted by a Cairo court along with seven others on Sunday
- She and the other had spent three years in detention in Egypt
- President Donald Trump and his aides worked to secure their release
- Hijazi arrived back in the US on a military plane late Thursday
- She and her brother will visit the White House to personally thank Trump
Aya Hijazi, a dual US-Egyptian citizen, was detained in Egypt for nearly three years on human trafficking charges.
She was flown back to the United States on Thursday on a US military plane, accompanied by a top White House official, a senior administration official said.
Hijazi was acquitted by a Cairo court on Sunday along with seven others who had worked with street children.
Hijazi, who grew up in Falls Church, Virginia, and attended George Mason University, was released from jail on Tuesday, having been held for nearly three years.
She was flown to Joint Base Andrews, the US military airfield on the outskirts of Washington.
President Donald Trump had privately asked Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to help out in the case when Sisi visited the White House on April 3, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Trump did not mention the case publicly when he met with Sisi.
US officials had raised Hijazi’s case with the Egyptians soon after Trump took office on January 20, the official said.
Hijazi was accompanied on the flight by Dina Powell, the deputy White House national security adviser for strategy.
Powell had been in the region traveling with US Defense Secretary James Mattis.
Hijazi, 30, founded Belady, a non-governmental organization that promotes a better life for street children.
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.
According to the Post, Trump and his aides worked ‘for several weeks’ with Egyptian authorities on securing the release of Hijazi, her husband, Mohamed Hassanein, and four other humanitarian workers.
Hassanein and the other four are all Egyptian nationals.
Human rights organizations denounced Egyptian authorities for leveling what they say were ‘bogus’ charges against Hijazi and the other five defendants.
The Obama administration had failed to gain Egypt’s cooperation in freeing the defendants.
But Trump’s warm and public embrace of the Egyptian president during his recent visit to the White House appeared to sway Cairo to free Hijazi.
The newly freed Egyptian-American will have a chance to personally thank the president on Friday, when she visits the White House along with her brother, Basel.
Hijazi is scheduled to meet Trump, his daughter, Ivanka, and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is believed to have taken a personal interest in Hijazi’s case.
‘It’s been a roller coaster of emotions the past couple of days,’ Basel Hijazi told the Post in a telephone interview Thursday from aboard the plane.
‘We’re crying with relief to have them out.’
‘We’re very grateful that President Trump personally engaged with the issue. Working closely with the Trump administration was very important for my family at this critical time. It let us be reunited as a family. We’re so grateful.’