First of 3 arrested U.S. students leaves Egypt
Three American students detained for allegedly participating in the uprising in Cairo. / CBS
Updated 11:47 p.m. ET
CAIRO - 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.
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 three were arrested on the roof of a university building near Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square on Sunday. Officials accused them of throwing firebombs at security forces fighting with protesters.
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 the 19-year-old Porter, a student at Drexel University in Philadelphia, said police escorted the students to the airport late Friday local time.
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.
The parents of Derrik Sweeney - one the three arrested - told CBS News that the students have packed their belongings and will be home soon.
Joy Sweeney said that her 19-year-old son Derrik and two other students are expected to fly from Cairo to Franfurt, Germany, sometime on Saturday. She says her son will fly from there to Washington on Saturday and then on to St. Louis.
Sweeney says she's "ecstatic" and plans to make her son a belated Thanksgiving dinner.
Katharina Gollner-Sweet, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, told The Associated Press earlier Friday that Sweeney, Gates and Porter were being processed for their eventual release one day after a court ordered them released from police custody, according to information from Egyptian officials.
"According to the latest information that the Egyptians gave out they were ordered released in the court but they are in an administrative out-processing stage," Gollner-Sweet said earlier. "We are continuing to provide normal consular services."
The three U.S. college students, who attend the American University in Cairo, were arrested on the roof of a university building near Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square on Sunday. Officials accused them of throwing firebombs at security forces fighting with protesters.
A court in Egypt ordered the release of the students, a lawyer in Philadelphia confirmed Thursday.
Attorney Theodore Simon, who represents Porter, a 19-year-old student at Drexel University in Philadelphia, said he spoke by phone with Porter, describing the student's demeanor as "calm and measured, demonstrating a maturity well beyond his 19 years."
"He was extremely thankful and appreciative for our efforts and the unconditional support of his mother and father," Simon said.
Porter is from Glenside, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia.
Sweeney's mother, Joy Sweeney, said she is "absolutely elated" at the news of her 19-year-old son's release.
"I can't wait to give him a huge hug and tell him how much I love him," she said, adding that the news of the court order was the best Thanksgiving gift.
The 21-year-old Gates is a student at Indiana University.
His parents released a statement Thursday through the school, saying they were "extremely happy" to hear that their son would soon be released.
"This has been a difficult situation, and while we are disappointed that he will be held a few days longer to complete administrative procedures related to his release, we're confident he will be home soon," Bill and Sharon Gates wrote.
Early Thursday, Egypt officials said the Abdeen Court in Cairo had ordered their release. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media. They did not say when the students would be released.
Derrik Sweeney interned for U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., earlier this year. Luetkemeyer's spokesman Paul Sloca, said the congressman is "extremely pleased that he's safe and coming home, especially on Thanksgiving."
Sweeney said she had not prepared for a Thanksgiving celebration, although a friend had taken her some food. She said the idea of a Thanksgiving feast had seemed "absolutely irrelevant" before the news of her son's pending freedom.
Asked what she thought her son would take away from his arrest, Sweeney said she thought he would make something useful of it.
"I'm sure that he'll put a life-lesson learning experience into a positive story," Sweeney said. "He's a writer, he will write about this experience."
Popular on CBSNews.com
One year after Afghan massacre, villagers work with U.S. troops One year after U.S. Staff Sgt. Robert Bales was accused of slaughtering 16 Afghan civilians, the villagers in the town where the atrocity took place have joined the U.S. special forces stationed there to assist in the fight against the Taliban.
- 50th Paris Air Show 19 Photos
- Widespread protests in Brazil 23 Photos
- One of FBI's Ten Most Wanted nabbed in Mexico
- Celebration and devotion in India 14 Photos
- Afghan gov't halts talks with U.S. on security pact
- Somali militants wage deadly attack on U.N. office
- Torrential rain devastates Northern India 15 Photos
- Brazil protesters flood Sao Paulo streets for 2nd night