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Trump says 'no deal' was made for charity worker

22 April 2017

President Donald Trump says "no deal" was made to secure the release of an Egyptian-American charity worker.

Hijazi and her brother, Basel, were set to visit the White House to meet Trump, his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner on Friday, the daily added.

Trump met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in early April in the White House and reportedly brought up Hijazi's case during their discussions.

US officials had unsuccessfully advocated for Aya Hijazi's release for years. But the former president had a tough stance on Sisi, including barring him from the White House over Egypt's human rights policies.

Hijazi and her seven co-defendants - including her husband, Mohamed Hassanein - worked for a foundation dedicated to aiding Cairo's street children until May 2014 when its offices were raided.

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"It let us be reunited as a family", Hijazi said.

The case was seen by human rights groups as typical of authoritarian rule in Egypt under President Sisi, who assumed power in 2013.

The government of el-Sissi is awful, but Trump's embrace led to freedom for these aid workers.

"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. The challenge for Trump is to make sure el-Sissi is induced to keep moving toward more humane behavior, not emboldened to keep trampling human rights.

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Trump and his aides had engaged in behind-the-scenes diplomatic efforts to gain her freedom after attempts by the previous Obama administration failed.

Aya Hijazi sits reading a book inside a holding cell as she faces trial on charges of human trafficking, sexual exploitation of minors and using children in protests at a courthouse in Cairo, Egypt, on March 23, 2017. Thousands of people remain imprisoned.

Powell was in Egypt as part of US Defense Chief, James Mattis' convoy in the region.

The Egyptian president told Trump's visiting Pentagon chief Jim Mattis on Thursday that he wanted to "strengthen the ongoing military cooperation between the two countries". In one memorable image from a hearing last month, she appeared in a different world altogether, lost in the pages of Maya Angelou's memoir "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings".

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