WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said he struck “no deal” for the release of an Egyptian-American charity worker who had been detained in the country for nearly three years.
Aya Hijazi, 30, and her husband, Mohamed Hassanein, an Egyptian, returned to the Washington area Thursday. She met Friday with Trump in the Oval Office.
Trump had hosted Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi at the White House at the beginning of this month. The two leaders discussed the case at the time.
“He was here, I said I really would appreciate it if you could look into this and let her out,” Trump told The Associated Press in an interview. “I asked the government to let her out.”
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Former President Barack Obama had worked on the case and “got zippo,” Trump noted.
Hijazi’s brother, Basel Hijazi, also attended the White House meeting, along with Trump aides Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and Dina Powell.
“We are very happy to have Aya back home and it’s a great honor to have her in the Oval Office,” Trump told reporters.
Earlier this week, a court acquitted Hijazi of charges of child abuse that were widely dismissed as bogus by human rights groups and U.S. officials. She and her husband had established a foundation to aid street children in 2013, but were arrested along with several others in 2014.
Details of their arrival back in the United States were first reported by The Washington Post. Trump and White House aides negotiated their release as well as freedom for four other humanitarian workers, and Trump sent a U.S. government aircraft to Cairo to bring them home, the Post reported.
Hijazi, a dual national, was born in Egypt and grew up in Falls Church, Virginia, a Washington suburb. She received a degree in conflict resolution from George Mason University in 2009.