American aid worker leaves Egypt after being released

The Trump administration flew Aya Hijazi, an Egyptian-American aid worker, home to the United States after negotiating her release from three years of captivity in Egypt on charges of child abuse and human trafficking, two senior administration officials said.

Ms. Hijazi’s case had become an international symbol of Egypt’s treatment of aid workers, and President Trump had been criticized by human rights advocates for not publicly raising her plight during an Oval Office meeting with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt early this month.

But the two administration officials said that despite the public silence, the United States had quietly secured a promise by Egyptian officials for her release before Mr. Sisi arrived at the White House, efforts that culminated over the weekend when a court cleared her. Ms. Hijazi, who grew up in Virginia, near Washington, returned aboard a government jet that landed at Joint Base Andrews, accompanied by her family and top American officials.

Ms. Hijazi, who has dual Egyptian and American citizenship and is a graduate of George Mason University in Virginia, was arrested in May 2014, along with her husband, Mohamed Hassanein. At the time, she worked at the Beladi Foundation, a nonprofit that she founded to care for street children in Cairo.

Egyptian officials had charged Ms. Hijazi and her husband with human trafficking and abusing children, and they faced years in prison. Human rights advocates had called the case “bizarre” and said that it lacked credibility.

[New York Times]

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