The mother of a Jefferson City man arrested this week in Egypt has extra reason to celebrate this Thanksgiving holiday. Joy Sweeney learned this morning that her son, 19 year-old Derrik Sweeney, has been released by Egyptian authorities and will be heading home as early as tomorrow.
Derrik and two other college students were arrested Sunday during protests near Tahrir Square in Cairo. Authorities accused them of throwing Molotov cocktails from the roof of a building. They were reported to have been carrying materials to make the firebombs when they were arrested.
Joy says her son told her the three were not doing anything wrong. “He was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
She says the consul general has urged Derrik to leave Egypt as soon as possible, and the plan is for him to fly out of country on Friday and return home.
Joy says her son was to be taken to a doctor for a medical evaluation upon his release, but she was told earlier this week that he was being treated well while in custody.
She says the news fits the holiday. “I have a million and one reasons to celebrate Thanksgiving anyway, but this just added to it…what a wonderful day!”
Derrick is a former intern for Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer, whose office released a statement this morning upon the news of his release:
“I am extremely thankful that Derrik Sweeney is being released by Egyptian authorities along with the two other American students. I am relieved for Derrik’s family, who received a special Thanksgiving Day gift today. I also would like to thank the State Department for their hard work on behalf of Derrik and the other two students.”
Senator Roy Blunt also released a statement on Derrik Sweeney’s release:
“I am very pleased that Egyptian officials are releasing Missourian Derrik Sweeney and his fellow American students today.”