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Derrik Sweeney, Georgetown student, arrested in Cairo

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Sweeney served as an intern in Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer's (R-Mo.) office this past spring, ABC7 has learned. Luetkemeyer's press secretary said the Congressman has reached out to the State Department in an effort to assist Sweeney.

Three American students, including one from Georgetown University, have been arrested in connection with the continuing protests sweeping Egypt. (Photo: Egypt's Ministry of Interior (Arabic))

The official said Luetkemeyer's office is "working to gather as much information as possible and to make sure he's safe and is being treated fairly."

Sweeney's mother Joy described him as a principled person who stands up for his beliefs. He attended previous protests but stopped after a demonstration where dozens were killed, she said. He had assured his family the violence wasn't near him and he was safe.

“He is extremely pacifist and has always, even as a young child, supported peaceful resolution and conversation, and he would never do anything to inflict violence on someone else,” Joy Sweeney said.

Sweeney, described as a good student, is studying Arabic and psychology.

“I don't believe he is a person who did that, must have been taken wrongly,” said his Arabic professor Amin Bonnah.

Sophomore Jose Madrid had a psychology class with Sweeney and is hoping for his classmate’s safe return.

“I’m definitely worried, it must be a tremendously terrifying experience not only to be abroad but to be detained abroad,” Madrid said.

Sweeney's family believes he is held at a courthouse in Cairo, which they hope is a positive sign because it’s not a prison. They have not been able to talk to him.

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