Details on Three U.S. Students Arrested in Cairo

Three American students studying at the University of Cairo were arrested after Egyptian military officials accused them of throwing molotov cocktails at police in Tahrir Square, where protesters were  gathering to form a million man march.  Egyptianstate TV showedthe three young men standing against a wall, looking both terrified and defiant, with their IDs next to what the broadcast said were petrol bombs.

The students have  been identified as Derrik Sweeney, a 19-year-old Georgetown University student from Jefferson City, Mo., Luke Gates, a 21-year-old Indiana University student from Bloomington, Ind., and Gregory Porter, a 19 year-old Drexel University student from Glenside, Pa.

According to the Guardian,

Further footage, allegedly taken in Tahrir Square, showed demonstrators – at least one of whom was wearing a mask – with caucasian features, including a young man with blond hair.

The families of the arrestees seem hopeful, and have made some contact with the students:

Nicole Sweeney told the Guardian that her parents knew very little, but had been told that 19-year-old Derrik Sweeney, who was arrested on Monday, was not being detained in prison.

"I suppose thoughts of the American revolution were things that probably crossed his mind. He's a huge follower of US constitutional history and the Revolutionary war," said Derrick's father.

Asked about the molotov cocktail accusation, he said: "I have no idea."

A Twitter account that appears to be from Gates – @lhgates – speaks of his experiences in Cairo and of "wanting to die" in Egypt.

On Monday, Gates wrote: "I think I am missing part of my ear" and, a day earlier, told of injuries to his knee and elbow. He wrote: "Back to Tahrir tonight as police set fires to everything, no doubt they will blame it on protesters."

Three days ago he wrote of "feeling reckless" and "honestly, hopefully I die here". Another read: "I just don't want to feel anymore" and one which said: "saw them hanging from the bridge, realise death is the only thing that's immortal."

American University President Lisa Anderson said the university is working with the U.S. Embassy to coordinate their release. 

Read more about the students here

AlterNet / By Kristen Gwynne

Posted at November 22, 2011, 10:43am

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