November 24th, 2011
07:59 AM ET

3 U.S. students expect to be freed in Egypt

[Updated at 4 p.m. ET] Three American college students arrested on suspicion of throwing Molotov cocktails during a protest in Cairo were ordered released Thursday, but it was not immediately clear when that would happen. Late in the day, they remained in custody.

"We handed the release order to the police and it's in their hands now," said Adel Saeed, the official spokesman of the general prosecutor.

The prosecutor's office told CNN earlier Thursday that the students had already been released. But late in the day, a friend of the students said they could remain in custody for a few more days.

Drew Harper, a 22-year-old film student from New York who has been in Cairo for three months, said the students said they were in good spirits and cited a bureaucratic slowdown for their continuing detention.

The erroneous news that they had already been freed was embraced by Joy Sweeney, whose son Derrik is one of the three students. "We are just so blessed and so grateful right now," she told CNN. "I can't wait to give him a big hug."

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Filed under: Egypt
soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. Mitz

    Absolutely disgusted by the action of these spoiled kids. And even more disappointed that one mother is "delighted" that her son is free instead of just "relieved and disappointed in her son". Since these kids "got away" with their action, it perpetuates the negative view on Americans and makes it unsafe for all the American expats and travelers.

    November 24, 2011 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Tad Pole

      You can be arrested for anything. That doesn't mean you did it.

      November 24, 2011 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
    • angryersmell

      You would have been happier if they were thrown in the stockade and whipped? Congratulations.

      November 24, 2011 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Mitz

      Tad, do you travel much? I do. I've been to the middle east and I've been to a few Muslim countries and they really don't just arrest people for no reason. Yes, it could be possible they didn't do anything but what were they doing in T. Square. It's not like they have a license for journalism. Frankly, I am more likely to believe they were there to cause trouble than not.

      November 24, 2011 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
    • bxlreel

      mitz, the american university in cairo is in the middle of downtown next door to where the protests were taking place. have you had a million people march past your school towards democracy?
      i think its unlikely they were doing nothing, but i think it's unlikely they were doing anything illegal.

      November 24, 2011 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Mitz

      No, I don't want them whipped but frankly, they got off really lightly since even our attorney general won't press further charges. For irresponsible kids to be walking around and causing trouble and then not even having any trial tells me that there is real issue with how we can't take responsibility for actions. When you enter a country that is not yours, you can't just go around behaving like you're in America. You have to behave accordingly to the country's rules.

      November 24, 2011 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
    • AndyNonya

      I'm sure they were whipped or at least slapped around, that's always part of being arrested in the middle east.

      November 24, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • RaKa

      You can't win this conversation here. CNN's lackies believe it's ok for these stupid kids to throw around explosives but not ok to be arrested for it. The modern college kid is worthless. They refuse to work and want to spend all day regurgitating CNN doctrine..and....they want your pay them a full days wage for it. I no longer hire students from liberal colleges. They are worthless as employees.

      November 24, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  2. George Patton

    It's about time those thugs in Egypt let those children go! This goes to show just what kind of people in Egypt that the right-wing thugs in Washington are in league with! Some things never change!!!

    November 24, 2011 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
    • RaKa

      Ur just plain stupid. You activist are absolutely worthless. You contribute nothing to society. You refuse to give an honest days labor and then you want someone to pay you for it.

      November 24, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  3. 327th

    So, how much money was paid in ransom?

    November 24, 2011 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
  4. bxlreel

    who knows if they were actually doing stuff wrong or if they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. if egypt thinks that whatever they were doing wasn't illegal, i'm going to assume that it wasn't illegal. glad this got sorted out quickly and without too much chaos!

    November 24, 2011 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  5. Kerry

    Released to whom where? If it were my child they would be on a plane home. I wouldn't trust their judgment to stay in such a situation.

    November 24, 2011 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  6. noroe

    Mmm!! They Can Stay in Egypt.TROUBLE MAKERS.................

    November 24, 2011 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  7. clwyd

    While I agree with their motives they should have remembered that they were the guests of another country! We Americans often forget that fact and think we are above the law!

    November 24, 2011 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  8. David the Great

    Cripes, people are getting dumber and dumber every year.

    November 24, 2011 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  9. rami

    Simply, they got lucky. Thugs

    November 24, 2011 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  10. J R Brown

    They should have been prosecuted like any other criminals...

    November 24, 2011 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
    • noroe


      November 24, 2011 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  11. erik

    Have you guys forgotten that people died over there.Those students are lucky to be alive.

    November 24, 2011 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  12. jl

    I dont think now is the time to have our children staying overseas, in countries filled with unrest. Especially when they involve themselves in foreign political matters.

    November 24, 2011 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
  13. G Man

    Why were these three in the protest? Oh, they wanted to feel important and "part of something". If they didn't do the crime, of course they should be released. But they should NOT have been out in protests that have absolutely nothing to do with them. At least now they can come back to the US and join the assinine OWS activities and rage against capitalism. :rolleyes

    November 24, 2011 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
    • George Patton

      Here goes another ignoramus of the ME generation! He forgets that we had no business getting into Afghanistan or Iraq! Then again, I guess that if one is well off, they want no change!!!

      November 24, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  14. Terry

    What is the deal lately with spoiled brat kids going to foreign countries and getting into trouble and Amercia suddenly having to deal with the situation? What ever happened to going to college or having a job?

    November 24, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • George Patton

      I can't get over these ignorant fools here taking up for those thugs now ruling Egypt. Maybe those kids in question believe in something unlike most Americans today who only believe in themselves!!! This ME generation is truly disgusting to say the least!

      November 24, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Terry

      George – If you believe that, I have some ocean front property in Arkansas to sell to you. These brats were obviously out for a fun time and got caught.

      November 24, 2011 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  15. Terry

    What is the deal lately with spoiled brat kids going to foreign countries and getting into trouble and America suddenly having to deal with the situation? What ever happened to going to college or having a job?

    November 24, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
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