Aya Hijazi meets with Donald Trump after Egypt ordeal

Aya Hijazi meets with Donald Trump after Egypt ordeal
Freed American aid worker hosted at the Oval Office after arriving back in the US on Thursday evening.
2 min read
21 April, 2017
US President Donald Trump hosted jailed American aid worker Aya Hijazi in the Oval Office on Friday after she was freed and returned to her home country.

Hijazi arrived back in the US late on Thursday following secret negotiations between the Trump administration and the government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

"We are very happy to have Aya back home," Trump said while seated alongside Hijazi, adding that she had shown "great strength" during her time in detention.
    White House press secretary Sean Spicer said on Friday that Trump "directly engaged behind the scenes" to secure Hijazi's release and raised the issue with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

    Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Trump "made clear [to the Egyptians] how important it was to him" that the aid worker be freed and returned to the US.

    "Today, the President is proud to be welcoming her back to the White House and happy that she is back home on American soil," Spicer said.

    According to Spicer, the US president told his national security team to work on Hijazi's case after being briefed on her situation early on in his presidency.

    Aya Hijazi and her husband, Mohamed Hassanein, were held in detention for nearly three years after being accused of child abuse and human trafficking.

    The pair, as well five other defendants, were acquitted by an Egyptian court on Sunday.
    Hijazi and her family were later escorted back to Washington on a military plane by a Trump aide. According to the Washington Post, the plane arrived at 10pm Thursday

    Human Rights Watch described Hijazi's detention as a "travesty of justice" in a report last month that said there was no evidence in support of a prosecution against her.

    Hijazi had been in Cairo working for a charity that assisted street children, until its offices were raided in 2014.