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American Aid Worker, Release Secured by Trump Officials, Leaves Egypt

Ms. Hijazi, who has dual Egyptian and American citizenship and is a graduate of George Mason University in Virginia, was arrested in May 2014, along with her husband, Mohamed Hassanein. At the time, she worked at the Beladi Foundation, a nonprofit that she founded to care for street children in Cairo.

Egyptian officials had charged Ms. Hijazi and her husband with human trafficking and abusing children, and they faced years in prison. Human rights advocates had called the case “bizarre” and said that it lacked credibility.

The case had become a symbol of Mr. Sisi’s authoritarian rule in Egypt since he took power in 2013. His government has increasingly sought to control all forms of dissent, and Ms. Hijazi was labeled an agitator by Egyptian authorities.

White House officials said Mr. Trump took a personal interest in her case. He had been briefed about it in the days leading up to Mr. Sisi’s visit, and he instructed his aides to meet with Egyptian officials to lobby for her release.

“He just said, ‘Let’s bring her home,’” said an American official, who insisted on anonymity to discuss sensitive diplomatic matters.

United States officials met with the visiting Egyptian delegation when it arrived in Washington before Mr. Sisi’s visit, and made clear that the president was focused on her fate and wanted her freed.

After long discussions, the Egyptian officials assured the Americans before the White House visit that they would oblige and free her, but not until her court date after Mr. Sisi returned home, the official said.

While White House officials felt confident that she was on the verge of freedom, they chose to take what they knew would be criticism in the news media and from political critics for not publicly mentioning her case during Mr. Sisi’s visit. Aides viewed the case as a vindication of Mr. Trump’s stated preference for addressing human rights issues in private.

After the Egyptian court ordered Ms. Hijazi’s release, Mr. Trump sent a military aircraft to Cairo to bring her and her family back to Washington. Dina Powell, the president’s deputy national security adviser, who is Egyptian-American and was already in the Middle East traveling with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, met up with the family in Cairo and escorted her home late Thursday night.

Ms. Hijazi is scheduled to visit the White House on Friday to see Mr. Trump. The details of her return — and the Trump administration’s efforts to free her — were first reported by The Washington Post.

Former President Barack Obama’s administration had pressed, unsuccessfully, for Ms. Hijazi’s release since her detention three years ago. Her family had complained at times of a lack of action by Obama administration officials.

During Mr. Obama’s tenure, Mr. Sisi had been barred from the White House, reflecting the government’s feelings about his seizure of power in a military…

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