IU student arrested in Cairo has been released, reports say


IU Student Luke Gates, center, was shown on Egyptian television with two other American students. Photo source: Egyptian state television Buy Photos

Luke Gates, a junior studying political science and near eastern languages and cultures, was participating in the semester study abroad program in Cairo, Ryan Piurek, director of University Communications, confirmed Tuesday.

Gates, along with Gregory Porter from Drexel University and Derrik Sweeney from Georgetown University, were a part of anti-government protests in Tahrir Square. The protesters had gathered in response to calls for a "million-man march."  The three students were accused of setting off molotov cocktails and clashing with police, according to reports.

The mother of Derrik Sweeney said all three students have been released and will not be charged in Egypt, according to CNN.

IU-Bloomington tweeted  on Tuesday that the University is working with the U.S. Embassy to provide assistance to Gates.

Piurek said the American University in Cairo and the U.S. Embassy are primarily responsible for providing any legal assistance to Gates, but the University has been in touch with them.

IU released a statement saying that University officials expressing their "deep concern for the safety of Luke Gates, as well as for the safety of the other two students who have been detained in Egypt." The statement said the University officials are in close contact with Gates' family and with U.S. embassy officials in Cairo.

The statement also noted that two other IU students are in Cairo as well, but University officials have spoken with them and they are both safe and neither have been detained.

IUSA Student Body President Justin Kingsolver said he has been in touch with IU President Michael McRobbie's office about the situation, and IU lawyers were working on the case. He said "there's really not a lot we can do right now, unfortunately. You know, there's not the rule of law there right now."

Kingsolver also said Gates ran for IUSA in last spring's election under the reviveIU ticket. Gates was also one of the petitioners in an IUSA Supreme Court case against former IUSA Chief of Staff Neil Kelty that occurred last spring.

The three arrested students were students at the American University in Cairo, according to reports. American University President Lisa Anderson told the Washington Post that the University has also been working closely with the embassy to get the students released.

On his Twitter account, Gates often wrote about going to Tahrir Square and participating in protests. On Nov. 13, he tweeted that he had a job in Cairo after graduation and on Nov. 19, he tweeted about throwing rocks, his eyes burning and seeing police fire live ammunition and rubber bullets. On the same day, he also tweeted "honestly, hopefully I die here."

A video was posted on Youtube showing all three of the students on Egyptian state-run television. The video is in Arabic, but it shows the drivers licenses and student IDs of each of the students, a brief clip of them in front of plastic bottles with green fluid in them and a blurry clip of what is suggested to be the students protesting. Click here to watch the video on Youtube.

— MJ Slaby and Zach Ammerman

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