3 American Students Arrested in Cairo

November 23, 2011

Three American students studying abroad at the American University in Cairo were arrested Monday while participating in a protest near Tahrir Square.

Luke Gates, 21, from Bloomington, Ind., and an Indiana University student; Derrik Sweeney, 20, from Jefferson City, Miss., and a Georgetown University student; and Gregory Porter, 19, from Glenside, Pa., and a Drexel University student, were all arrested on suspicion of throwing Molotov cocktails, said Morgan Roth, the university’s director of communication for North America. Roth said it is too early to assess the accusations against the students, and she does not know if the students were targeted or rounded up in a large group.

Roth said she does not know if the three students have been formally charged by the Egyptian authorities, but they are currently being detained at a courthouse facility. All three of the students were enrolled at AUC for the semester.  Gates and Porter are taking general studies classes, and Sweeney is enrolled in the Arabic language institute, Roth said.

Roth said the university has contacted the American Embassy to help administrators monitor the students’ whereabouts and well-being. Roth said the university is in fact-finding mode currently, and could not say if the students will remain in Cairo when they are released. She said the university frequently sends messages to the university community to alert them of any potential danger or violence.  “We take the temperature all the time,” she said. “We don’t want our students who are not from Cairo and haven’t learned its rhythms to get caught up.”



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