American College Students Held in Egypt Being Released. Update
November 24, 2011

A court in Egypt has ordered the release of three American students arrested during a protest in Cairo, a lawyer in Philadelphia confirmed Thursday.

Derrik Sweeney, Luke Gates and Gregory Porter, who attend the American University in Cairo, were  arrested on the roof of a  university building near Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square on Sunday.

Officials accused them of throwing firebombs at security forces fighting with protesters. Attorney Ted Simon, who represents Porter, a 19-year-old student at Drexel University in Philadelphia, said he is still waiting to find out if the students actually have been set free.

Sweeney’s mother, Joy Sweeney, said she is “absolutely elated” at the news of her 19-year-old son’s  release.

“I can’t wait to give him a huge hug and tell him how much I love him,” she said, adding that the news of the court order was the best Thanksgiving gift.

The 21-year-old Gates is a student of Indiana University. Earlier Thursday, Egypt officials said a court had ordered the students’ release. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media. They did not say when the students would be released.

Joy Sweeney of Jefferson City, Missouri, said she wasn’t sure when her son, a student at Georgetown University, would be returning to their home.

“If he can find his passport (then he’ll leave) tomorrow, if not, it won’t be until Monday,” she said.

Derrik Sweeney interned for U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., earlier this year. Luetkemeyer’s spokesman Paul Sloca, said the congressman is “extremely pleased that he’s safe and coming home, especially on Thanksgiving.”

Mother of Student Held in Egypt Fears Son’s Release is Not Imminent
November 24, 2011

(AP) — A Missouri woman whose son was arrested during demonstrations in Egypt says she’s losing hope for a quick resolution.

Nineteen-year-old Derrik Sweeney, of Jefferson City, was arrested Monday in Cairo along with two fellow Americans studying in Egypt. Authorities allege they were throwing firebombs at security forces.

Sweeney’s mother, Joy Sweeney, said Wednesday a US. Embassy official told the family that any decision on charging or releasing her son was unlikely before Saturday.

The mother also says the family was told the students were questioned late into Wednesday night and that significant progress was unlikely Thursday. She says the embassy official said Friday is a holiday in Egypt and that work is not done on Sunday. There’s an election Monday, so it could be Tuesday before a decision is made.