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American Students Freed In Egypt: 'We Are Just So Blessed,' Family Testifies

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  • Egypt Protests
    (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
    Protesters flee from tear gas fired by riot police during clashes at Tahrir Square in Cairo November 21, 2011. Cairo police fought protesters demanding an end to army rule for a third day on Monday and morgue officials said the death toll had risen to 33, with many victims shot in the worst violence since the uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak.
By Benge Nsenduluka, CP Reporter
November 24, 2011|11:21 am

Three American Students suspected of rioting in Egypt have been released after being arrested, just in time for Thanksgiving.

Gregory Porter, Derrik Sweeney, and Luke Gates all in their late teens and early 20s were arrested for throwing Molotov Cocktails during violent clashes between locals and police in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

Although the young men denied having any involvement, they were immediately arrested leaving their families initially horrified. They obviously are thrilled today with the news of their release.

"We are just so blessed and so grateful right now...I can't wait to give him a big hug," Joy Sweeney told CNN.

Sweeney's son Derik is said to have communicated with her recently and explained that "they had done nothing wrong."

The Cairo-based students, said to be studying abroad have been advised to return to the U.S. to protect their safety as U.S. Consul General in Egypt Roberto Powers explained to CNN, "It wouldn't be safe or prudent for them to remain in the country."

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The clashes between protesters and police have come following disputes over power, similar to those which saw the end of former President Hosni Mubarak's political standing.

Though the recent riots are said to be calmer today, 38 people are said to have died and thousands wounded during what has become a violent call for the country's Military to step down after taking over after Mubarak's departure.

Some are concerned over the safety of Americans in Egypt altogether at this time, following fresh reports that American-Egyptian journalist Mona Eltahawy was "beaten" and "arrested" in the same riots.

The Journalist posted messages on Twitter telling followers: “Beaten arrested in interior ministry” which resulted in #FreeMona becoming a trending topic on the social network website.

Although it has also been reported that she was sexually assaulted whilst being detained, many were relieved when she tweeted, “I AM FREE” shortly after a string of distressing tweets.

 

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