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‘You know it’s me who released you, don’t you?’ Trump tells former political prisoner in Egypt

November 4, 2020 at 10:14 am

US President Donald Trump (R) meets with Aya Hijazi, former political prisoner in Washington, DC, 21 April 2017 [JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images]

A tweet by former political prisoner Aya Hijazi has been widely shared on social media in which she reveals what US President Donald Trump told her shortly after securing her release from an Egyptian prison.

“Trump leaned in and said, ‘you know it’s I who released you, don’t you? I succeeded and Obama failed’.”

She continued: “In the most vulnerable moment of my life, 48 hours after releasing me from prison. It was never about me like it was never about us. It’s about his ego. We deserve better. #VoteBiden.”

Hijazi, who runs Belady, a charity that advocates for child prisoners, was detained in Egypt in 2014 for almost three years on trumped up charges related to child trafficking and abuse, one year after launching the non-profit organisation.

Human rights groups said that the arrests were unfounded and part of a wider crackdown on non-government organisations.

Whilst she was detained US officials advocated for her release but with no success until Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi visited the White House just before the final verdict was issued in her case and Trump pushed for her release.

READ: Egypt man who accompanied Fairmont witness to police station detained for alleged sexual orientation

A few weeks later a court in Cairo dropped the charges against her and her husband and they returned to the US.

Former US President Barack Obama did not invite Al-Sisi to Washington in protest against his human rights abuses, whereas Trump has referred to him as his “favourite dictator”.

There are some 60,000 political prisoners in Egypt who are systematically tortured, denied health care and sentenced to death in unfair trials.

At the end of October the 70th political prisoner died this year after being denied medical care.

Last month, 222 MEPs sent an open letter to Al-Sisi voicing “deep concern about the ongoing detention of prisoners of conscience in Egypt.”

It came two days after 56 US congressmen said that human rights abuses in Egypt will not be tolerated if Joe Biden wins the elections and demanded that detainees be released.

Democratic candidate Joe Biden has said he will not ignore human rights violations in Egypt, which has “aroused anxiety” in Egypt, according to a paper by the Israeli Institute for National Security Studies.