Leahy Is Among Bipartisan Coalition Of Senators Welcoming Release Of Unjustly Imprisoned Egyptian-American Aya Hijazi
WASHINGTON (WEDNESDAY, April 19, 2017) – Vermont U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D) is one of eight senators who on Wednesday issued their joint statement on the long awaited release this week of Aya Hijazi, a dual Egyptian-American citizen who had been unjustly imprisoned in Egypt since May 2014 on unsubstantiated charges related to her nonprofit organization’s efforts to help Egyptian children.
Leahy, vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the ranking member of the State Department’s budget committee – the State Department and Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee – has long been a leader in pressing Egypt’s government on human rights violations, and had spoken multiple times on the Senate floor and with Egyptian leaders urging the release of Hijazi. The senators who joined in releasing the statement are Senators Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Leahy, Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), and David Perdue (R-Ga.). Their statement follows:
“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.”