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White House wants release of US-Egyptian held in prison for over two years

White House wants release of US-Egyptian held in prison for over two years

Egypt

The United States is calling on Egypt to drop all charges leveled against, Aya Hijazi, a US-Egyptian dual citizen who has been held in an Egyptian jail for more than two years.

This call was contained in astatement issued on Friday (September 16) by the National Security Council’s (NSC) Spokesperson, Ned Price.

According to the statement, Aya is a U.S.-Egyptian dual citizen who was detained in Egypt while doing humanitarian work till her arrest in 2014.  Her family met with the deputy National Security Advisor (DNSA) Avril Haines, on Friday at the White House, following which the demand for release was made.

‘‘DNSA Haines reiterated the President’s deep concern for the welfare of all American citizens held abroad, and assured Hijazi’s family that the United States will continue to offer her all possible consular support,’‘ the statement read.

Aya Hijazi grew up in the US, but after college she returned to her native Egypt to start a foundation, Belady – Arabic for my country, dedicated to helping street children.

That initiative according to her family, made her a target of Egypt’s authoritarian regime and has landed her in jail on trumped up charges for the last two years since she was arrested together with her husband Mohammed Hassanein.

Egyptian authorities accuse Hijazi of abusing children in her care and engaging in human trafficking, kidnapping, sexual exploitation and torture. But the trial has been delayed multiple times with human rights groups deploring the rather snail paced process.

Human rights groups have said the charges are fabricated and part of a crackdown by Egypt’s government on civil society.