First of 3 arrested US students leaves Egypt - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

First of 3 arrested US students leaves Egypt

CAIRO (AP) - The first of three American students arrested during a protest in Cairo has left Egypt, an airport official and an attorney for one of the trio confirmed on Friday.

The three Americans were arrested on the roof of a university building near Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square last Sunday. Officials accused them of throwing firebombs at security forces fighting with protesters.

Luke Gates, 21, left Cairo early Saturday morning on a flight to Frankfurt, Germany.

An Egyptian court ordered the release of Gates, along with Derrik Sweeney and Gregory Porter, both 19, on Thursday. All were studying at the American University in Cairo.

The other two are expected to leave on separate flights later Saturday morning, the airport official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters.

Attorney Theodore Simon, who represents Porter, a student at Drexel University in Philadelphia, said police escorted the students to the Cairo airport Friday.

"I am pleased and thankful to report that Gregory Porter is in the air. He has departed Egyptian airspace and is on his way home," Simon said later Friday.

Simon did not give an estimate of when Porter would be arriving in the U.S.

Simon said he and Porter's mother both spoke by phone with the student, who is from the Philadelphia suburb of Glenside.

"He clearly conveyed to me ... that he was OK," Simon told the AP.

Joy Sweeney told the AP her son, a 19-year-old Georgetown University student from Jefferson City, Missouri, would fly from Frankfurt to Washington, then on to St. Louis. She said family will meet him when he arrives late Saturday.

"I am ecstatic," Sweeney said Friday. "I can't wait for him to get home tomorrow night. 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.

Sweeney said she had talked with her son Friday afternoon and "he seemed jubilant."

"He thought he was going to be able to go back to his dorm room and get his stuff," she said. "We said, 'No, no, don't get your stuff, we just want you here.'"

She said American University will ship his belongings home.

Sweeney had earlier said she did not prepare a Thanksgiving celebration this week because the idea seemed "absolutely irrelevant" while her son still was being held.

"I'm getting ready to head out and buy turkey and stuffing and all the good fixings so that we can make a good Thanksgiving dinner," she said Friday.

___

Kozel reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Maryclaire Dale in Philadelphia and Dana Fields in Kansas City, Mo., contributed to this report.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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