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Friday, April 21, 2017

Another Trump Success

Trump Succeeds In Freeing American Charity Worker From Egyptian Prison. Obama Had Failed.

Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images
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An Egyptian-American charity worker has been released from prison in Cairo
 after three years behind bars. The American citizen returned home to the 
United States late Thursday.
“President Trump and his aides worked for several weeks with Egyptian
 President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi to secure the freedom of Aya Hijazi, 30, a 
U.S. citizen, as well as her husband, Mohamed Hassanein, who is Egyptian, 
and four other humanitarian workers,” reports The Washington Post. “Trump 
dispatched a U.S. government aircraft to Cairo to bring Hijazi and her family 
to Washington.”
Trump apparently succeeded where former president Obama failed. The 
Post continues:
The Obama administration unsuccessfully pressed Sissi’s government for their release. It was not until Trump moved to reset U.S. relations with Egypt by embracing Sissi at the White House on April 3 — he publicly hailed the autocrat’s leadership as “fantastic” and offered the U.S. government’s “strong backing” — that Egypt’s posture changed. Last Sunday, a court in Cairo dropped all charges against Hijazi and the others.


According to White House officials, this wasn’t your classic Obama-era quid
 pro quo transaction or controversial prisoner exchange. Unlike Obama,
oversaw Hijazi’s release and received assurances from Cairo that the prisoner
 release was a gesture of good faith.
We received “assurance from the highest levels [of Sissi’s government] 
that whatever the verdict was, Egypt would use presidential authority to 
send her home,” an unidentified senior administration told the Post.
Trump reportedly sent his military aide, Air Force Maj. Wes Spurlock, “to 
escort Hijazi and her family on the plane home to Washington,” according to 
the Post.
A Virginia native, Hijazi served as an aid worker for the Belady Foundation in
 Cairo. She and her husband set up a rehabilitation center for abandoned
 and impoverished children in the city.
But Hijazi’s work caught the attention of Egyptian authorities in 2014 when 
she was detained alongside her husband and fellow aid workers on May 1 
of that year on trumped-up charges of child abuse and human trafficking. 
Stripped of due process and basic rights, Hijazi was sent to prison without 
a shred of evidence to justify her detainment. It’s unclear why the Sissi regime
 threw these aid workers in prison, but it is possible  that their work, shining 
a bright light on the plight of Egypt’s forgotten street children, made Cairo
 look bad and attracted unwanted attention to the government. In prison,
 Hijazi and her colleagues were allegedly abused at the hands of prison guards.
Hijazi’s release comes as Secretary of Defense James Mattis tours the Middle
 East and reasserts America's alliance with Sunni partners that have felt 
abandoned and neglected by the Obama administration’s diplomatic pivot 
toward Shiite Iran.