• 13:53
  • Monday ,19 September 2016

Egypt denounces White House call for release of activist accused of exploiting street children


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Monday ,19 September 2016

Egypt denounces White House call for release of activist accused of exploiting street children

 Egypt's foreign ministry denounced on Sunday a White House statement calling for the release from prison of Egyptian-US activist Aya Hegazy, who is jailed over accusations of "exploiting street children."

In an official statement, Egypt's foreign ministry spokesman criticised the "insistence of American official circles to undermine the rule of law and deal with it selectively, to the point where it is explicitly demanding the release of a defendant and the dropping of all charges merely because the defendant holds an American nationality."
The spokesman also called for the release of Egyptian defendants serving sentences in US prisons, as well as dropping charges against them.
Hegazy, 29, and her husband Mohamed Hassanein have been in detention since May 2014 over accusations that her NGO Belady Initiative – a foundation aiming to help street children in Cairo – was involved in human trafficking, kidnapping, and sexual exploitation and torture of children her care. They also face charges of running an unlicensed organisation.
A court hearing for Hegazy and other defendants in the case is set for November.
The statement by the Egyptian foreign ministry comes two days after the White House said that US deputy national security advisor Avril Haines met with Hegazy's family, where he reiterated US President Barack Obama's "deep concern for the welfare of all American citizens held abroad, and assured Hegazy's family that the United States will continue to offer her all possible consular support."
"The United States calls on the government of Egypt to drop all charges against Hegazy and release her from prison," the statement read.
On Thursday, Hegazy's family and two northern Virginia congressmen called for her release at a Capitol Hill press conference, with the family describing the charges against their daughter as "absolutely absurd and unfounded."