After Drexel student’s return, Philly’s International House still focused on Egypt

    A Drexel University sophomore, who was arrested by police in Egypt, is back at home in the Philadelphia area. Gregory Porter of Glenside and two other American students were arrested last week during a pro-democracy riot and accused of setting off Molotov cocktails.

    Porter’s attorney, Theodore Simon, said the process of getting his client out safely was complicated.

    “Because, even though we were fortunate to obtain a court order releasing him, and further an out-of-court order for the prosecution not to appeal, there still remained a number of administrative steps that had to be successfully negotiated to obtain his actual release,” Simon said. “Some of those included certain immigration issues.”

    Simon, who said Porter is a respectful, bright young man, insisted his client is innocent.

    “He has repeatedly spoken of heroic acts of Egyptians in the face of danger and equally he’s made it very clear: he never was in possession of any type of Molotov cocktail,” said Simon. “Certainly never threw one, absolutely was never on any roof, and never had such an intent to harm anyone.”

    While Porter managed to leave Egypt safely, some in Philadelphia are still focused on what’s happening there.

    Martha Buccino is vice president of institutional advancement at International House Philadelphia. The nonprofit organization in University City houses nearly 400 students, scholars and interns from more than 65 countries.

    An alumni relations office “is in contact with our alumni from around the world around twice a week and we did have contact with some of the alumni in Egypt,” Buccino said. “We always check to see how they’re doing, especially during these times of turmoil, and they were safe.”

    Buccino said the organization is supporting its Egyptian students, as it did when the revolution took place in Tahrir Square to bring down President Hosni Mubarak early this year.

    “At that time they got together for breakfast, exchanged news from home and did Skype with some of their families,” he said. “We held a forum where they could present their news from home with other residents from that part of the world” who were residing at International House.

    Buccino said when students share news from home it can encourage those from other parts of the world, including countries also in turmoil, to connect with one another and offer support.

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