02.03.11

Leahy Meets With Student Extracted From Egypt With Middlebury Students

Senator Was Instrumental In Rescue of 22 In Middlebury Group

WASHINGTON (THURSDAY, Feb. 3) – Senator Patrick Leahy was able to personally deliver a heartfelt “welcome home” this week to one of the students stranded for two tense days in Egypt.  Leahy on Thursday met in his Washington office with Lara Getz, a second year college student, and her sister Meghan Metzger, to discuss Lara’s harrowing experience over the past week.  Lara was studying abroad in Alexandria, Egypt, through a program administered by Middlebury College, when political upheaval unfolded around her. 

Along with 21 other students in the Middlebury program, Lara found herself in the midst of the public uprising against the 30-year rule of President Hosni Mubarak.  The students turned to Washington for help over the weekend as the situation became more precarious by the hour.

Leahy, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of State and Foreign Operations, was instrumental in urging the State Department to help in providing security to the group as they traveled to the airport.  After 24 hours of suspense and mixed messages from U.S. officials on the ground, which Leahy’s staff worked around the clock to sort out, the students boarded a chartered flight to Prague, where they landed safely.

In the meeting, Leahy told of his relief to learn of the students’ safe return and asked about their eyewitness accounts as history unfolded all around them.  Leahy has been an outspoken voice in Congress urging President Mubarak to step down.  

In response to the most recent reports of attacks on journalists and members of the media, Leahy Thursday said, “The thuggery that is being waged against Egyptian protestors and working journalists is deeply disturbing and deserves the world’s condemnation.  I hope President Mubarak will realize that this violence threatens to blot his legacy and that it will not prevent an early end of his rule, which now seems inevitable.”

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