Sweeney on Cairo arrest: I was just standing there

Derrik Sweeney denies throwing firebombs or other objects during Cairo's street protests. The American student - one of three detained for a week in an Egyptian jail - also disputes video that Egyptian police claim shows Sweeney, with his face covered, hurling objects.

"It's interesting that they show that video," the 19-year-old Sweeney said on CBS' "The Early Show." "That does appear to be me, and as you can see in it, I'm just standing there.

"I don't know where they derived this story that I'm throwing something in the video. But I think that anybody who watches it will see that I'm just standing there," he said. "We were on Mohamed Mahmoud Street which is just a few blocks away from Tahrir Square."

3 arrested students back from Egypt

"What made you go down to these protests and what drew you in?" asked Erica Hill.

"Well, there is a fight for democracy and for liberty and for freedom," Sweeney replied, "I really enjoy politics personally, and I do believe that they are fighting for something valuable, and I had a strong desire to go see what was there. I suppose I am a curious person."

Derrik Sweeney embraced by family members after he arrived at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport in St. Louis on Saturday.
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Sweeney, along with Gregory Porter, 19, and Luke Gates, 21, were detained in Egypt a week ago.

Of his treatment by Egyptian authorities during his detention, Sweeney said, "The first night, we weren't really told anything as to what was going to happen to us for a long time, for several days.

"But the first night, we were hit several times in the face, in the back of the neck, and we were forced to sit on the ground in the dark with our hands cuffed behind our backs, and there were a number of Egyptian policemen behind us with guns telling us that if we moved, we would be shot. We were there for about seven hours."

Sweeney was finally released from jail, and arrived back in the United States late Saturday.

Derrik's mother, Joy Sweeney, told Hill that she remembers the first thing she said to her son when he got off the plane in St. Louis: "I think I just said 'I love you,' which is what I've been saying every single time I talk to him. I'm just so glad he's here."