Egypt acquits US-Egyptian citizen after 3-year legal ordeal

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An Egyptian court on Sunday acquitted Aya Hijazi, a dual US-Egyptian citizen, after nearly three years of detention over accusations related to running a foundation dedicated to helping street children.

Authorities arrested Hijazi, her husband and six others in May 2014 on charges of abusing children in her care and engaging in human trafficking, kidnapping, sexual exploitation and torture.

Local human rights groups have said the charges are fabricated and part of a crackdown by Egypt's government on civil society.

Taher Abol Nasr, Hijazi's defense lawyer, said that acquittal procedures usually take between two to three days. He expects Hijazi and all the former defendants in the case to walk free before the end of this week.

“It’s up to them to decide whether they would demand compensations after their release,” he added.

The trial has been delayed multiple times on what human rights groups say are absurd pretexts, like the inability to turn on a computer at a court hearing.

Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, along with several congressmen and international rights groups, had called for Hijazi’s release.

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