PHILADELPHIA — Three American students arrested during a protest in Egypt were released Friday and planned to catch flights out of Cairo to begin their trips home, an attorney and family said.
An Egyptian court had ordered that American University in Cairo students Derrik Sweeney, Luke Gates and Gregory Porter be released from police custody.
The three U.S. college students were arrested on the roof of a university building near Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square on Sunday. Officials accused them of throwing firebombs at security forces fighting with protesters.
Attorney Theodore Simon, who represents Porter, a 19-year-old student at Drexel University in Philadelphia, said police escorted the students to the airport late Friday local time. Simon said he spoke by phone with Porter, of Glenside, Pa.
"He clearly conveyed to me ... that he was OK," Simon told the AP.
Simon wouldn't immediately discuss his client's destination, but Sweeney's mother says they're expected to fly to Frankfurt, Germany.
Joy Sweeney told the AP her son, a 19-year-old Georgetown University student from Missouri, would fly from there to Washington then on to St. Louis. She said family will meet him when he arrives late Saturday.
"I am ecstatic. I can't wait for him to get home tomorrow night," Sweeney said Friday afternoon. "I can't believe he's actually going to get on a plane. It is so wonderful."
The 21-year-old Gates is a student at Indiana University.
Messages seeking comment after word of the students' release Friday were left for his parents, who had issued a statement through the school a day earlier saying they were "extremely happy" he would be coming home soon.
Kozel reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Maryclaire Dale in Philadelphia and Dana Fields in Kansas City, Missouri, contributed to this report.
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