One Year after Egyptian Imprisonment, Youth out of Limelight

7 years 3 months 1 week ago Wednesday, December 19 2012 Dec 19, 2012 Wednesday, December 19, 2012 4:54:00 PM CST December 19, 2012 in News
By: Krystal Scott
loading

JEFFERSON CITY - One year after being imprisoned in Egypt, Jefferson City resident Derrick Sweeney's life has pretty much returned to normal. The student is enrolled in his final semester at Georgetown University, studying Arabic. Although the classes Sweeney took at American University in Cairo didn't count toward his graduation, Sweeney is ready to get his diploma.

Kevin Sweeney, Derrick's father, said, "Derrick definitely learned about the culture, all of it, including the guns and punishment."

A year has passed since Sweeney and two other American students were imprisoned in Egypt under allegations of throwing Molotov cocktails into a crowd. The teens were eventually freed and sent back to the states to finish their schooling.

In an interview with KOMU 8 News, Sweeney said the experience hasn't really changed his outlook much. He said, "Seeing the bare bones of what government [is] when it tries to control people, what it is. It's men with guns. So that's led me really strongly to oppose more government control through socialism or fascism. I'm really strongly opposed to seeing government grow."

Sweeney said he doesn't have nightmares about the situation, but said the most frightening part was "being taken and beaten."

Sweeney's fluency in Arabic helped him interpret what the Egyptians were saying and helped him to follow directions better.

For Sweeney's full interview check out the video below.

 

While Sweeney was in captivity, no matter how much worrying either parent endured, both said they never strayed from their faith. Mother Joy Sweeney said, "You know everybody was like how could you stay home. I said that was one of the hardest decisions that we had to make. That was one of the hardest things to do. To stay here when you know he needed our help."

Joy Sweeney added, "He's always been a kind of take it in stride kind of person, but I'll never forget when I called and he (Derrick) actually talked to me for the first time, how he said now that I'm talking to you I know everything is going to be okay."

Father Kevin Sweeney, who had returned from a business trip only a few days before his son's imprisonment, recalled, "If I would have gotten the call while I was in Korea I would have been on a plane right there. However the embassy told us we wouldn't do any good there."

Kevin Sweeney admitted the biggest help to his family was the lawyer in Egypt who agreed to work pro bono to help release Derrick Sweeney and another student who was taken into custody. Kevin Sweeney said, "They wouldn't have had representation otherwise."

The family hasn't been in contact with that lawyer, but said they were thankful for all of the help, advice, and prayers while Derrick was trying to come home.

Between the bustle to get Derrick back home safely, the Sweeney family didn't have a traditional Thanksgiving last year. However, the family was able to make up for it this year, as all of the Sweeney family was able to connect in California on Thanksgiving to give thanks that their family is safe and all in America.

Despite the difficulties in 2011, Kevin and Joy Sweeney have not limited their children from traveling outside of the country. Joy Sweeney said her youngest daughter wants to travel abroad.

Even Derrick said he is planning to travel abroad again. He said, "I will definitely go abroad--maybe not Egypt quite yet--but yeah, I will definitely go."

More News

Grid
List
In this COVID-19 town hall, KOMU 8's Emily Spain talks with Greg Tucker about how small businesses are struggling and... More >>
1 hour ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 10:58:00 AM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
(CNN) -- The last three weeks have marked one of the most devastating periods in history for the American job... More >>
2 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 9:52:02 AM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 spreads, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about the impacts on the community. KOMU 8 News... More >>
2 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 9:12:00 AM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Starting April 2, Jefferson City Schools is offering meals to students impacted by school closures. Students from... More >>
3 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 8:15:00 AM CDT April 02, 2020 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - Three separate MU Zoom sessions were disrupted by individuals who entered the meetings uninvited and used "discriminatory... More >>
15 hours ago Wednesday, April 01 2020 Apr 1, 2020 Wednesday, April 01, 2020 8:59:00 PM CDT April 01, 2020 in News
CUBA, Mo. (AP) — An eastern Missouri man was charged with making a terrorist threat after he allegedly coughed toward... More >>
15 hours ago Wednesday, April 01 2020 Apr 1, 2020 Wednesday, April 01, 2020 8:22:00 PM CDT April 01, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – As the COVID-19 pandemic forces more people to stay indoors, the beautiful weather is still drawing plenty of... More >>
17 hours ago Wednesday, April 01 2020 Apr 1, 2020 Wednesday, April 01, 2020 6:24:00 PM CDT April 01, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Paying rent has become a challenge for thousands of Missourians who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19.... More >>
18 hours ago Wednesday, April 01 2020 Apr 1, 2020 Wednesday, April 01, 2020 5:49:00 PM CDT April 01, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - COVID-19 has already changed many aspects of daily life, from visiting restaurants to attending school. Now, first responders... More >>
18 hours ago Wednesday, April 01 2020 Apr 1, 2020 Wednesday, April 01, 2020 5:09:00 PM CDT April 01, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Governor Mike Parson addressed the public at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, saying the state plans to restrict... More >>
20 hours ago Wednesday, April 01 2020 Apr 1, 2020 Wednesday, April 01, 2020 3:45:00 PM CDT April 01, 2020 in Top Stories
As COVID-19 spreads, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about the impacts on the community. KOMU 8 News... More >>
21 hours ago Wednesday, April 01 2020 Apr 1, 2020 Wednesday, April 01, 2020 2:49:00 PM CDT April 01, 2020 in News
MONITEAU COUNTY - The Moniteau County Police chased down and arrested two people in a stolen car for multiple charges,... More >>
21 hours ago Wednesday, April 01 2020 Apr 1, 2020 Wednesday, April 01, 2020 2:30:00 PM CDT April 01, 2020 in News
FAYETTE - Central Methodist University took steps to help rural Missouri medical professionals in the midst of COVID-19 by donating... More >>
21 hours ago Wednesday, April 01 2020 Apr 1, 2020 Wednesday, April 01, 2020 2:04:00 PM CDT April 01, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — As state and commercial testing is more available for the Missourians, the number of confirmed cases is rising.... More >>
21 hours ago Wednesday, April 01 2020 Apr 1, 2020 Wednesday, April 01, 2020 2:00:00 PM CDT April 01, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - COMO Youth Soccer, Sporting Columbia and Columbia Select started hosting daily practices using Zoom back when school got... More >>
22 hours ago Wednesday, April 01 2020 Apr 1, 2020 Wednesday, April 01, 2020 1:24:00 PM CDT April 01, 2020 in Top Stories
(CNN) -- Postponing Tokyo 2020 will have provided a sense of relief to many Olympians but the delay in the... More >>
23 hours ago Wednesday, April 01 2020 Apr 1, 2020 Wednesday, April 01, 2020 12:51:47 PM CDT April 01, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Public School district announced Wednesday it's putting classes on pause through the end of the week... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, April 01 2020 Apr 1, 2020 Wednesday, April 01, 2020 10:11:00 AM CDT April 01, 2020 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - As the weather gets warmer and plants continue to bloom, season allergies will become more of an issue... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, April 01 2020 Apr 1, 2020 Wednesday, April 01, 2020 5:51:00 AM CDT April 01, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 65°
12pm 67°
1pm 68°
2pm 67°
3pm 68°