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Egyptian Police Take Georgetown Student Into Custody

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Derrik Sweeney
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Derek Valcourt began working at WJZ in September 2002. His first major...
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WASHINGTON (WJZ) — Egyptian police continue to hold three American college students in custody, including one by Georgetown University. That student’s mother says she has talked to her son on the phone for the first time since his arrest.

Derek Valcourt has more on the accusations and reaction from the Georgetown University campus.

As students at Georgetown University leave for the long Thanksgiving weekend, many have fellow student Derrik Sweeney on their minds.

Sweeney, a 19-year-old Missouri native, was on a semester abroad program at the American University in Cairo. Now he’s being held by Egyptian police, who released a video of Sweeney and two other Americans. All three are accused of taking part in violent protests and throwing Molokov cocktails at Egyptian police.

“I don’t think he would do anything to inflict harm on another person. He’s a firm believer in peace,” said Derrik’s mother, Joy Sweeney.

Sweeney’s mother says her son called her Wednesday to tell her he’s okay and did not do what he’s accused of. He’s still being questioned, but she’s praying for his swift release.

“I just want him safe. I just want him home,” she said.

On the campus of Georgetown, many are concerned for Sweeney’s safety.

“It’s one of our students who’s over there and I don’t know. Hopefully he’s safe and hopefully he’s getting due process,” said a student.

“I’m definitely worried. I think it must be a tremendously terrifying experience, not only to be abroad but to be detained abroad,” said a student.

“It makes me a little bit nervous for his safety, knowing that it’s very unstable right now,” said a student.

There’s no comment from Georgetown University officials, who only released a statement saying they are in touch with US embassy officials in Egypt and the US State Department.

The other two college students being held by Egyptian police have been identified as 19-year-old Gregory Porter of Pennsylvania and 21-year-old Luke Gates of Indiana.

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