American jailed in Cairo: We were threatened

Three young American students are back home safe and sound tonight after their brief confinement in Egypt last week.

They say they were simply trying to watch history in the making, but as CBS News correspondent Cynthia Bowers reports, they got a lot more than they bargained for.

There were emotional homecomings for the three college students held for 6 days by Egyptian authorities when they arrived back on American soil.

Greg Porter landed in Philadelphia, Luke Gates in Indianapolis.

Derrik Sweeney, center, gets hugs from his father Kevin Sweeney, left, and sister Ashley, right, as arms from his mother, Joy Sweeney, wrap around from behind after Derrik arrived at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011, in St. Louis.
AP Photo

Derrick Sweeney, 19, arrived in St. Louis, Mo., late Saturday night. Earlier Sunday, he finally arrived at his family home in Jefferson City.

"It feels like home," Derrick said.

3 arrested students back from Egypt
American student arrested in Cairo returns home
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The three were arrested last Sunday accused of throwing Molotov cocktails near Cairo's Tahrir Square.

Derrick described his first night in custody as follows: "We were in a near-fetal position with our hand handcuffed behind our back, and with our shirts still over our heads so we couldn't see even in the dark, and they said if we moved, we would get shot...they would shoot us."

The three were brought before cameras, showing them with firebombs Egyptian authorities said came from their backpacks. Derrick said these bottles might have belonged to Egyptians, but not to him or his friends.

One picture shows Derrick holding what looks like a Dasani water bottle, but there's clearly colored fluid in it.

"They made me put it up against my mouth and threatened as though they were going to make me drink it. As far as I could tell, my best guess would be gasoline," Derrick said.

With help from the U.S. embassy, the young men were released on Friday.

Sunday, the Georgetown University student admitted he may have been naive in having been drawn to an area where protestors and police were battling it out. He says he was curious to watch Egypt's struggle for political freedom

"It's about a passion for democracy and liberty and values that I think Americans can stand for too," Derrick said.

Derrick doubts he'll be allowed back into Egypt anytime soon. For now, he's thankful to be home.

  • Cynthia Bowers

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