Joy Sweeney, the mother of Derrik Sweeney, one of the three American students arrested this week during rioting in Egypt, said she had been told Wednesday that there might not be a resolution to the case by Thanksgiving.
“They’re still interrogating them,” she said of the three Wednesday afternoon. “No decision will be made tonight, and probably not even tomorrow. So unfortunately that’s not real optimistic for us.”
“Maybe I’ll get good news tomorrow,” she said. “It’s Thanksgiving, after all, right?”
All three American students arrested in Cairo were permitted to telephone their parents Wednesday.
“I am absolutely wonderful,” Joy Sweeney said then. “I just talked to my son. He’s not released ... (but) he sounds okay. ... I was so elated. It was so great to hear his voice.
“He was definitely shaken up, (and was) as terrified as he looked” in the picture of the trio that was circulated on the Internet on Tuesday, she said.
“All I said was, ‘I love you, I love you, the whole world loves you, we’re all praying for you,’ ” she said. “He was just so grateful to hear all that, I’m sure.
“I said, ‘You didn’t do anything,’ and he said, ‘Of course not, mom,’ ” she said.
Egyptian authorities alleged that Sweeney, who was studying Arabic at American University in Cairo, was throwing firebombs during demonstrations along with fellow students Luke Gates, 21, of Bloomington, Ind., who attends Indiana University, and Gregory Porter, 19, of Glenside, Pa., who attends Drexel University in Philadelphia.
“He just confirmed that ... they did not do anything that would warrant their arrest,” she said. “That was so reassuring. I believed it in my heart but it was nice to hear it out loud.”
Joy Sweeney said her son told her that he and his friends had been shuttled between two prisons, and had been fed. “They’re okay,” she said. “He just wants to be released.”
She said the students had been transferred to the custody of the Egyptian attorney general’s office, which was good news.
“So they are going to be questioned” Wednesday, she said.
“The fact that I heard is voice was so reassuring,” she said.
But by early Wednesday evening, she sounded weary and disappointed. “I’ve been up for over 48 hours now,” she said. “This morning changed my life. I was so happy to just talk to Derrik.”
Now, she said, they will have to wait some more.
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