WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, with Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism, Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Mark Warner (D-VA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and David Perdue (R-GA), released the following joint statement on the release of Aya Hijazi, a dual Egyptian-American citizen, who had been unjustly imprisoned in Egypt since May 2014 on unsubstantiated charges related to her non-profit’s efforts to help Egyptian children:
“Today, Aya Hijazi, an Egyptian-American citizen, was released from prison in Egypt and reunited with her family. Although Ms. Hijazi’s trial faced far too many delays, we welcome the April 16th verdict by an Egyptian court clearing Ms. Hijazi and her co-defendants of all charges. We applaud Ms. Hijazi’s strength throughout this difficult process and commend the tireless efforts of her family in pressing for her release. The positive resolution of this case follows Egyptian President al-Sisi’s visit to Washington several weeks ago. During President al-Sisi’s visit, we made clear our support for a strong U.S.-Egypt relationship, while also emphasizing that Egypt’s respect for human rights and the rule of law are of critical importance to our bilateral relations, and to Egypt’s stability and security.”
A group of the Senators had called on the Egyptian government to swiftly release Hijazi and urged President Donald Trump to raise her case when he met with President al-Sisi. In addition, Cardin and others introduced a bipartisan resolution reaffirming America’s commitment to the U.S.-Egypt partnership while reiterating their call for the release of Hijazi.