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The Triangle - The Independent Student Newspaper at Drexel University

Drexel student among Americans arrested in Egypt

Updated Wednesday, November 23, 3:45 a.m.

A Drexel University student was among three students arrested Nov. 22 at the American University in Cairo and accused of participating in violent protests in the Egyptian capital, the American University said.

Gregory Porter, 19, a Drexel international area studies major from Glenside, Pa., was shown around the world in a video broadcast by Egyptian state television alongside two other Americans: Luke Gates, 21, from Indiana University, and Derrik Sweeney, 20, from Georgetown University. The American University confirmed the identity of the three students to several international media outlets after the images of the students were picked up by satellite and cable networks worldwide.

The New York Times reported that an Egyptian Justice Ministry spokesman said the men were arrested by police after they threw Molotov cocktails (an improvised explosive device commonly used in street protests) from the roof of the American University during battles with the police that have stemmed from weeks of unrest and protests in the city.

In the video broadcast, the men were shown with bottles filled with what seemed to be a colored liquid, which was said to be explosive. The men displayed their identification cards and an Indiana driver’s license.

Egyptian officials said Tuesday afternoon local time that the three students were questioned by an Egyptian prosecutor with a U.S. Embassy official present. Whether or not official charges have been made yet is unclear. According to American University spokeswoman Morgan Roth, the three have been held by Egyptian authorities at a courthouse facility since the arrest.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said the United States Embassy was in contact with authorities in Egypt throughout Tuesday. According to Nuland, the State Department has requested consular access to the students, which is expected some time Wednesday.  Drexel officials and representatives from the American University are keeping tabs on Porter, as well as the other men. Friends of Porter continue to post message of well-wishes to Porter’s Facebook.

The students were studying abroad this semester, the American University confirmed. They were to return home at the end of the term.