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Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Egypt court acquits Egyptian-American activist Aya Hegazi in 'child exploitation' case

El-Sayed Gamal El-Din , Sunday 16 Apr 2017
Aya Hegazi and Mohamed Hassanein
Aya Hegazi and husband Mohamed Hassanein during an event by their NGO Belady Foundation (Photo Courtesy of Belady Page on Facebook)
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An Egyptian criminal court ordered the acquittal on Sunday of Egyptian-American activist Aya Hegazi after nearly three years of detention on charges related to the exploitation and abuse of children.

The court also acquitted six other defendants, including Hegazi's husband, after finding them not guilty of charges of human trafficking, kidnapping, and the sexual exploitation and torture of children.

Hegazi, 29, and her husband Mohamed Hassanein, were arrested in May 2014 after allegations that her NGO Belady Initiative, which works with street children in Cairo, was involved in child abuse and was operating without a licence.

Local and international rights groups have criticized the case, alleging a lack of evidence and complaining about the prolonged pre-trial detention.

During his April visit to the United States, Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said that he might be willing to give Hegazi a presidential pardon if she were convicted.

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