After the release of Aya Hijazi, an Egyptian-American who had been imprisoned in Egypt for three years, and her visit to the White House, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to celebrate her release, which the Trump administration had been working on for the past few weeks.
“WELCOME HOME, AYA!” he wrote alongside a video commemorating the moment before adding an American flag emoji and the hashtag #GodBlessTheUSA.
Hijazi is a dual American-Egyptian citizen, and she and her husband had founded the Belady Foundation in Cairo to help homeless children. In May 2014, they and their co-workers were imprisoned on charges of child abuse and human trafficking, which the Human Rights Watch called a “travesty.” The couple ended up trapped in the Egyptian court system for three years, while no evidence was ever presented and court dates were continuously postponed or canceled.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said on Friday that President Trump “directly engaged behind the scenes” to secure her released after raising the issue with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Trump reportedly “made clear how important it was to him” to have her freed.
“We are very happy to have Aya back home,” Trump said while seated alongside Hijazi at the White House. “It’s a great honor to have her in the Oval Office with her brother.”