Va. Woman Released From Egypt Prison After 3 Years | NBC4 Washington

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Va. Woman Released From Egypt Prison After 3 Years

Authorities arrested Hijazi, her husband and six others in May 2014 on charges of abusing children that were widely dismissed as bogus by human rights groups and senior U.S. officials

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    Va. Woman Released From Egypt Prison After 3 Years
    AP Photo/Mohamed el Raai
    Aya Hijazi, center, a dual U.S.-Egyptian citizen, is acquitted by an Egyptian court after nearly three years of detention over accusations related to running a foundation dedicated to helping street children, Cairo, Sunday, April 16, 2017. Egyptian authorities arrested Hijazi, her husband and six others in May 2014 on charges of abusing children in her care and engaging in human trafficking, kidnapping, sexual exploitation and torture.

    The lawyer of Egyptian-American charity worker Aya Hijazi says she has been released from prison after nearly three years of detention. 

    Taher Abol Nasr told The Associated Press she was released late Tuesday, two days after a court acquitted her of charges of child abuse that were widely dismissed as bogus by human rights groups and U.S. officials. 

    Hijazi and her husband had established a foundation to aid street children, but were arrested along with six others in 2014. It was not immediately clear whether her co-defendants were also released. 

    The arrests came as part of a wider clampdown on civil society especially following the military overthrow of an elected Islamist president in 2013. Prosecutors provided little if any evidence to support the allegations.

    Hijazi, 30, grew up in Falls Church, Virginia. She received a degree in conflict resolution from George Mason University in 2009, and then returned to her native Egypt.

    Along with her husband, Hijazi established a foundation by the name Belady, Arabic for "our nation,'' in 2013 with the aim of providing shelter for street children.

    A few months later, authorities raided the foundation's office after a man alleged that his son was missing and blamed it on Belady.

    U.S. President Donald Trump did not publicly mention the case when he met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi earlier this month, but a senior White House official had said ahead of the meeting that the case would be addressed.