UPDATE: Jeremy Hodge was released Sunday by Egyptian authorities, according to a USA Today report.
“The worst was that they handcuffed him to a chair for 36 hours,” said Drew Brammer, an American journalist in Cairo who is friends with Hodge. Brammer added that, based on their conversations, Hodge didn’t have access to food in that time and was unclear as to why he was being detained.
USA Today adds that a U.S. embassy official in Cairo confirmed that Hodge had been released, but had no further comment.
Jeremy Hodge, 26, is a U.S. citizen who has been studying and working in the Cairo area for several years. According to the Egypt Independent, Hodge was arrested at his apartment and has been detained without charge by the Egyptian State Security Investigations Service (SSI) since around 10:45 p.m. on January 22, 2014. Hodge’s friend, Egyptian filmmaker Hossam el Din Salman el Meneai, was arrested at the same time.
“The police came to the apartment that Jeremy had and they stayed there for hours asking him questions,” a friend of Hodge’s told Buzzfeed under the condition of anonymity. “When Hossam showed up they spoke longer and then took them away … The police were very curious about why Jeremy spoke such good Arabic, and they wanted to know why he had taken the time to learn Arabic; they were suspicious.”
Meneai, who was arrested with Hodge, has reportedly been making a film about Coptic Christians. Before Hodge’s phone was confiscated, he texted a friend that the authorities were asking Menai about “Sinai and his camera.”
Hodge texted another friend: “Hossam is being investigated, I’m waiting around.”
That was several days ago, and the two have not been seen since. Their lawyers say they tried to meet the young men at 11:30 a.m., 2:00 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. on Thursday but were unsuccessful. By the evening the lawyers had concluded that the pair had likely been moved, but they did not know where. They have reportedly even begun filing missing persons and kidnap reports.
Originally from Los Angeles, Hodge has worked as a journalist and an Arabic-to-English translator. TheBlaze once wrote a story about his experience amid the uprisings, and full disclosure, TheBlaze’s Erica Ritz studied with Hodge at the American University in Cairo in the fall of 2010.
The Egypt Independent reports that Hodge’s mother, Lisa de Moraes in Los Angeles, spoke to Loghman Fattahi at the US embassy in Cairo Friday morning and was told that U.S. representatives had not been able to visit Hodge yet.
Hodge’s mother is deeply concerned about her son’s asthma, saying he is likely to have an attack without his medication. She reportedly told Hodge’s friends that the embassy “basically did not give her much information, except that [they] would not be able to see Jeremy until Sunday.”