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Michael Conroy, Associated Press
Luke Gates, 21, center, is hugged by his father Bill Gates, left center, mother Sharon, right center, and sisters Maggie, left, and Emma after arriving at Indianapolis International Airport in Indianapolis, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2011. Gates was arrested during protests in Cairo and arrived back in the U.S. on Saturday, three days after an Egyptian court ordered his release.

ST. LOUIS — One of three American students arrested during protests in Cairo says they were hit and threatened with guns, and described that first night in custody as the scariest of his life.

Nineteen-year-old Derrik Sweeney spoke with The Associated Press shortly after arriving at St. Louis' international airport late Saturday.

Sweeney, 19-year-old Gregory Porter and 21-year-old Luke Gates were arrested a week ago on the roof of a university building near Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square.

Officials accused them of throwing firebombs at security forces fighting with protesters. But Sweeney says they "never did anything to hurt anyone."

An Egyptian court ordered their release Thursday. All arrived in their home states Saturday night.

Gates told the AP he doesn't take what happened as a negative experience and still believes Egypt is a great country.