Trump meets with Egyptian aid worker released from Cairo jail

Remigio Civitarese
Aprile 25, 2017

An Egyptian-American charity worker, who was imprisoned in Egypt for three years, returned home to the USA on Thursday after Trump Administration negotiations with the Egyptian government, reports the Washington Post.

Their release and the freedom of four other humanitarian workers were quietly negotiated by Mr. Trump and White House aides, and the president sent a USA government aircraft to Cairo to bring them home, the Post reported.

President Trump not only invited imprisoned aid worker Aya Hijazi to the Oval Office after securing her release from an Egyptian prison, but he used an interview with the Associated Press to throw shade at former President Obama on her fate. Sisi came to power through a military coup in 2013, and the Obama administration had barred him from the White House for human rights abuses.

"We are very happy to have her back home", Trump said. Their detention well exceeded the Egyptian legal limit of two years for pretrial and provisional detention, and human rights groups maintained they had not been allowed access to their lawyers.

Dina Powell, the president's Egyptian-American deputy national security adviser, is said to have accompanied the couple on the flight home. Along with her husband and six colleagues at the foundation, Hijazi was eventually accused of sexually assaulting children and convincing them to join protests in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The administration had quietly negotiated Hijazi's release in recent weeks, according to the Washington Post. Hijazi was released from jail on Tuesday, having been held for almost three years.

On Sunday, the court acquitted the seven other defendants in the case after finding them not guilty of charges of human trafficking, kidnapping and the sexual exploitation and torture of children.

Trump sent a USA government airplane to Cairo to bring the family to Washington, according to The Post.

Earlier this month President Trump welcomed Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to the White House for the first time, praising him for doing a "fantastic job in a hard situation".

Although the US defense establishment has been split on the issue of Sisi's regime, Rubio has emerged as a strong critic, previously panning it for human rights abuses.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says Syria has dispersed its warplanes in recent days and that it retains chemical weapons, an issue he says will have to be taken up diplomatically.

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