An Egyptian-American woman who had been held in Egypt for nearly three years returned to the United States after the Trump administration negotiated for her release.
Aya Hijazi, an aid worker and the founder of a nonprofit organization that aimed to help homeless children in Cairo, flew to Joint Base Andrews outside of Washington, D.C., on a U.S. military plane Thursday night, The Washington Post reported. She was accompanied by Dina Powell, President Donald Trump’s deputy national security adviser, and her family.
Hijazi and her husband had been arrested in 2014 on charges of human trafficking and child abuse. She and seven other aid workers who were defendants in the case were on Sunday acquitted of all charges, which had been labeled as false by human rights organizations and by U.S. officials.
Hijazi, an American citizen who grew up outside of Washington, D.C., had become a symbol of Egypt’s treatment of aid workers and its crackdown on nongovernmental organizations. The Obama administration had unsuccessfully pushed for her release.
Trump had met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in early April, and he was harshly criticized after he complimented the Egyptian autocrat and did not publicly mention Hijazi’s plight.
But The Post reported that the Trump administration had been working behind the scenes to ensure Hijazi would be released at the time of Sisi’s visit. Administration officials told the New York Times that the administration had secured Hijazi’s release before Sisi visited the White House.