mohamed abd el ghany

The Trump administration negotiated the release of an Egyptian-American prisoner held in Egypt for 3 years

(Aya Hijazi and her husband Mohamed Hassanein, talk inside a holding cell.Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters)
The Trump administration negotiated the release of a US citizen who was held in an Egyptian prison for three years.

Aya Hijazi, who is of Egyptian-American heritage, was released and brought back to her family in Washington, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.

Hijazi was in Egypt running a nongovernmental organization that was seen as an anti-Egyptian scheme by Egyptian security officials, according to The Post. Her Egyptian husband and four coworkers were arrested as well. 

Hijazi and her coworkers were imprisoned on May 1, 2014 on child abuse and trafficking charges — accusations that were baseless, according to US officials and human-rights workers — due to the lack of evidence. In prison, Hijazi her companions were allegedly subjected to “coercive interrogation techniques,” while their trial dates were either canceled or continuously postponed.

President Barack Obama attempted to negotiate their release with Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi; however, the chilled relationship between the two countries complicated the talks.

It wasn’t until President Donald Trump invited Sissi to the White House earlier this month — an act that drew ire from critics of Sissi’s authoritarian government — that relations with Egypt appeared to stabilize. During the meeting, Trump called Sissi’s leadership as “fantastic” and said that Egypt had “strong backing” from the US government, The Post reported.

Hijazi is scheduled to meet Trump at the White House on Friday.

“It’s been a roller coaster of emotions the past couple of days,” said her brother, Basel Hijazi. “We’re crying with relief to have them out.”

“We’re very grateful that President Trump personally engaged with the issue. Working closely with the Trump administration was very important for my family at this critical time. It let us be reunited as a family. We’re so grateful.”

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Egypt | June 30, 2013

1. A protester waves a national flag as Egyptians gather in Tahrir Square during a demonstration against President Mohammed Morsi in Cairo on June 30, 2013. (Amr Nabil/AP)

2. An anti-Mursi protester chants slogans during a massive protest in Alexandria on June 30, 2013. (Asmaa Waguih/Reuters)

3. A protester waves a national flag from the top of a light pole during a demonstration in Tahrir Square in Cairo on June 30, 2013. (Manu Brabo/AP)

4. Protesters gather during a demonstration at Tahrir Square in Cairo on June 30, 2013. (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters)

5. A picture taken on June 30, 2013 shows laser lights directed by Egyptian protestors on a military helicopter flying over the presidential palace in Cairo, as hundreds of thousands of Egyptian demonstrators gather during a protest calling for the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi. (Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images)

6. Opponents of  Morsi protest, some with green lasers, outside the presidential palace, in Cairo on June 30, 2013. (Hassan Ammar/AP)

7. Opponents of Morsi wave national flags and chant slogans during a protest outside the presidential palace, in Cairo on June 30, 2013. (Khalil Hamra/AP)

8. Protesters lit a flare during a protest at Tahrir Square in Cairo on June 30, 2013. (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters)

9. An Egyptian protester attacks the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in the Mokattam district in Cairo on June 30, 2013. (Manu Brabo/AP)

10. Protesters gather during a demonstration at Tahrir Square in Cairo on June 30, 2013. (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters)

A protester, wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, stands in front of Egyptian military police standing guard near the Ministry of Defense in the Abbassiya district of Cairo April 30, 2012. Protesters continued their sit-in on April 30 after they were attacked two days earlier, which resulted in the death of one person and the injury of 100 others, according to the Health Ministry. Protesters are calling for the creation of a transitional government and for the military not to hold any special status in the next constitution, local media reported.

REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

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More pictures from Egypt today : 

1. An Egyptian security forces’ armoured vehicle drives amidst remains of a protest camp by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi and members of the Muslim Brotherhood after a crackdown on August 14, 2013 near Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque. (Mahmoud Khaled/AFP/Getty Images)

2. An injured Egyptian youth is seen at a makeshift hospital during clashes between supporters of Egypt’s ousted president Mohamed Morsi and police in Cairo on August 14, as security forces backed by bulldozers moved in on two huge pro-Morsi protest camps, launching a long-threatened crackdown that left dozens dead. (Mosaab El-shamy/AFP/Getty Images)

3. A supporter of Mohammed Morsi holds his children tight as security forces move in to disperse protesters in a huge camp in Cairo’s Al-Nahda square on Aug. 14, 2013. (Engy Imad/AFP/Getty Images)

4. A man grieves as he looks at one of many bodies laid out in a make shift morgue after Egyptian security forces stormed two huge protest camps at the Rabaa al-Adawiya and Al-Nahda squares where supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi were camped, in Cairo, on August 14, 2013. (Mosaab El-shamy/AFP/Getty Images)

5. Female supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt’s ousted president Mohamed Morsi gather stones during clashes with police in Cairo on August 14, 2013. (Mosaab El-shamy/AFP/Getty Images)

6. Riot police fire tear gas during clashes with members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, around Cairo University and Nahdet Misr Square, where they are camping in Giza, south of Cairo August 14, 2013. (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters)

7. Egyptian riot police arrest a demonstrator during clashes as security forces backed by bulldozers moved in on two huge protest camps of supporters of Egypt’s ousted president Mohamed Morsi, launching a long-threatened crackdown that left dozens dead on August 14, 2013. (Hassan Mohamed/AFP/Getty Images)

8. A supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt’s ousted president Mohamed Morsi gestures during clashes with police in Cairo on August 14, 2013. (Mosaab El-shamy/AFP/Getty Images)

9. An Egyptian security force kicks a supporter of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi as they clear a sit-in camp set up near Cairo University in Cairo’s Giza district, Egypt, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Hussein Tallal)

10. Supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi take cover from Egyptian security forces fire during clashes in Rabaah Al-Adawiya in Cairo’s Nasr City district, Egypt, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

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Today in Egypt – Morsi supporters and opponents rally

1. A girl waves the national flag as opponents of President Mohammed Morsi protest outside the defense ministry in Cairo on June 28, 2013. (Hassan Ammar/AP)

2. Anti-Mursi protesters carry a banner saying “leave” while chanting anti-Mursi and anti-Muslim Brotherhood slogans in Tahrir Square in Cairo on June 28, 2013. (Asmaa Waguih/Reuters)

3. Anti-Mursi protesters chant slogans in Tahrir Square in Cairo on June 28, 2013. (Asmaa Waguih/Reuters)

4. An anti-Mursi protester uses his sandal to beat a crossed-out picture of President Mohamed Mursi during a protest in Tahrir Square in Cairo on June 28, 2013. (Asmaa Waguih/Reuters)

5. Anti-Mursi protesters carry a picture of President Mohamed Mursi and former president Hosni Mubarak as they protest in Tahrir Square in Cairo on June 28, 2013. (Asmaa Waguih/Reuters)

6. An anti-Mursi protester carrying her child chants slogans in Tahrir Square in Cairo on June 28, 2013. (Asmaa Waguih/Reuters)

7. An Egyptian diver holds a sign and a flag during a protest against President Mohamed Mursi underwater in Colored Canyon in Sharm el-Sheikh on June 28, 2013. (Reuters)

8. Members of the brotherhood and supporters of President Mohamed Mursi shout slogans during a protest around the Raba El-Adwyia mosque square in the suburb of Nasr City, Cairo on June 28, 2013. The sign reads, “happy new presidential year we hope to congratulate after the four years”. (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters)

9. Supporters of Mohammed Morsi fill a public square outside the Rabia el-Adawiya Mosque in Cairo during a rally in Cairo on June 28, 2013. (AP)

10. A man waits at train stop in front of the presidential palace, days ahead of planned protests against the country’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in Cairo on June 28, 2013. Arabic reads, “leave, left, evacuation day” (Hassan Ammar/AP)