Aid workers' release is a victory for President Trump


President Donald Trump hailed the return of Aya Hijazi, an Egyptian-American aid worker, in the Oval Office on Friday, telling the American charity worker she showed "great strength" in her ordeal.

President Donald Trump met Hijazi Friday at the White House.

The couple and the others were jailed in 2014 on charges of trafficking and child abuse.

Aya Hijazi, 30, is from Falls Church, Virginia and her husband Mohamed Hassanein is Egyptian. Hijazi, an Egyptian-American charity worker was freed after almost three years of detention in Egypt returning to the U.S., Thursday, April 20, 2017.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Friday that Trump "directly engaged behind the scenes" to secure Hijazi's release and raised the issue with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

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The US denfense minister, who is on his first visit to Cairo since taking office, discussed with Sisi a number of topics, including regional and global challenges, especially combating terrorism, presidency spokesperson Alaa Youssef said.

Progressive groups in Egypt like Human Rights Watch have long advocated for Hijazi's release, arguing her charges were a "travesty" meant to crack down on progressive democratic groups and those with perceived ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Trump hosted the Egyptian president at the White House in early April.

Her release is seen as a success for The White House after the Obama administration tried but failed to have her set free.

Hijazi arrived at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Thursday, according to The Washington Post.

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The official said the USA side interpreted that to mean that a guilty verdict and sentencing would be followed by a pardon from Sissi, but they were pleasantly surprised. Aya was reportedly accompanied by Air Force Major Wes Spurlock, a military aide to the US President, and Egyptian-American Dina Powell, who is the US Deputy National Security Adviser.

U.S. officials had raised Hijazi's case with Egypt soon after Trump took office on January 20, aides said.

"I just want to let everybody know in case there was any doubt that we are very much behind President Sisi", Trump said.

The administration of former President Barack Obama had lobbied without success for Ms Hijazi's release, frustrating her family.

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