Press Releases


Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today met with released American-Egyptian prisoner Aya Hijazi and her husband Mohamed Hassanein. Both were imprisoned in Egypt in May 2014 on false charges and were finally freed, along with their colleagues at Belady Foundation, in late April 2017. Rubio has been a vocal advocate for the release of Aya, Mohamed, their colleagues, and all political prisoners jailed in Egypt.
 
Aya and Mohamed presented Rubio with a picture frame containing a photo from his #expressionNOToppression speech on the Senate floor calling for their release, and a space for a photo of their meeting today.
 
A downloadable broadcast quality version is available for TV stations here. A transcript of Rubio’s remarks is below.
 
VIDEO: Rubio meets with former Egyptian prisoners Aya Hijazi and her husband, Mohamed Hassanein
 
 
RUBIO: I’m here with Mohamed and Aya and we’re very, obviously, happy that they’re back and they’re with us and they’re here to talk today. And one of the things that makes me the most proud is this picture here. This was our floor speech that we gave a few weeks ago when el-Sisi was visiting Washington, D.C.
 
Thanks to the intervention of the White House and others, Aya and Mohamed are with us here today to talk about the future of Egypt. But this is a moment we’re very proud of. Not because of what we did but because it made a difference. And it’s really enlightening. We give a speech every week on #expressionNOToppression, and you wonder, ‘Does it matter? Does anybody notice?’ At least one time we can say that it did.
 
So the blank space here is our picture today. We’ve come from here to here and obviously I’m very happy about that. But we have so much work to do, so many other people that are in these conditions, both in Egypt and around the world. We’ll continue our commitment to the human rights of all people in all parts of the world.
 
In addition to raising Aya’s case in private meetings with Egyptian officials, Senator Rubio and his colleagues:
 
Urged then-Secretary of State John Kerry to use all measures at his disposal to ensure Aya’s release.
Called on Egypt to release Aya when Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry visited Washington, D.C., in February 2016.
Introduced a bipartisan resolution ahead of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s visit to Washington last month reaffirming America’s commitment to the U.S.-Egypt partnership and demanding the immediate release of unjustly imprisoned American citizens, including Aya.
Urged President Trump to raise Aya’s case as well as human rights concerns in his meeting with Egyptian President el-Sisi.
Highlighted human rights abuses in Egypt on the Senate floor, and called for Aya to be released.
Welcomed Aya home from her three-year imprisonment in Egypt.
Photos courtesy of Senator Rubio’s office.
 
 
 
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