The parents of Youssef Megahed, one of two University of South Florida students being held on an explosives charge in South Carolina, say their son is a dedicated student who works with mental health patients and would not be involved in any terrorist acts.
The parents, Samir and Ahlam Megahed, spoke for the first time publicly Wednesday at a news conference arranged by the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Tampa. They have not yet spoken to their son, who is being held in jail with fellow student, Ahmed Mohamed.
"I'm going to support him because I know he's innocent. He is innocent. I will not leave him in the prison,'' said Samir Megahed, 60, a civil engineer from Egypt.
The family showed photographs of Youssef spending time with them on St. Pete Beach. In the photos, he is smiling and wearing a scuba diving suit. In his spare time, Youssef Megahed also likes grilling food outdoors.
The family was headed to South Carolina to try to speak with their son.
The two students have been detained since Saturday, after they were stopped for speeding in Goose Creek, S.C., and police became suspicious. Authorities found pipe bombs in the trunk, an arrest affidavit says.