Congressman calls for release of Egyptian prisoner

AP News
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Posted: Sep 15, 2016 8:14 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — A northern Virginia congressman is calling on the Egyptian government to release a prisoner whose arrest two years ago has drawn condemnation from human rights groups.

Aya Hijazi grew up in Falls Church, Virginia, and is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Egypt. She had been running a foundation in Egypt dedicated to helping street children when she and her husband were arrested in 2014.

Democratic congressman Don Beyer will meet with Hijazi's family Thursday on Capitol Hill, to be followed by an afternoon news conference. He'll be joined by fellow congressman Gerry Connolly.

Egyptian authorities accuse Hijazi and her husband of using their foundation to exploit children, but the trial has been delayed multiple times. Human rights groups have said the charges are trumped up and part of a crackdown by Egypt's government on civil society there.