OTR Interviews

American Held Captive in Syria

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 31, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: It isn't just Libya tonight. There is also breaking news in Syria. Unrest is seizing that country, and now the Syrian government has arrested an American, accusing him of spying. Muhammad Radwan, an Egyptian-American from Texas, living in Damascus and working for the Syrian branch of his father's company, is now under arrest.

Syrian police picked him up on March 25th. Syrian state TV is calling him a member of a foreign group paid to destabilize Syria. The Syrian TV is also now airing what is claimed by them to be a confession. Now, in the video, Radwan says he was paid $17 by a Colombian for photos of the protest. No official charges have been made, but what are the Syrians telling Muhammad's family? Muhammad's brother, Tarek Radwan, joins us now. Good evening.

TAREK RADWAN, BROTHER BEING HELD IN SYRIA: Good evening. Thank you for having me.

VAN SUSTEREN: Obviously, terribly distressing for you and your family, your brother. Do you know anything about -- do you know anything about the condition of your brother tonight?

RADWAN: Well, right now, my brother remains incommunicado detention. No one has been able to see him at all, despite our efforts. My father has traveled to Syria. He's in Damascus right now, while my mother remains in Cairo and I'm trying everything that I can here in Washington. My father has been able to meet with the Egyptian and the U.S. diplomats there. And they've sent repeated requests to the Syrian authorities for consular access and information about his well-being. But unfortunately, so far, all of those requests have gone ignored.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why your brother? I mean, their accusation, at least on TV, is that he sold a picture for $17. What's the picture, supposedly, if there is a picture? Do you know anything at all?

RADWAN: Well, his last voluntary tweet was about a protest that was taking place last Friday outside of the Umayyed mosque. And he just was basically, you know, reporting, as a sort of interested party...

VAN SUSTEREN: Citizen journalist maybe a little bit?

RADWAN: Citizen journalist.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK.

RADWAN: Exactly. But he is by no means a Syrian activist.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is he political?

RADWAN: He is political, in the sense that he took part in the Tahrir Square protests in late January of this year, where he helped, you know, bring supplies to protesters and such. However, he's been very careful to remain neutral as far as the Syrians being concerned. He knows he's not a Syrian national. He knows this is a Syrian struggle that they have to sort out for themselves.

VAN SUSTEREN: He's American. Born here?

RADWAN: He's been -- we were both born and raised in the U.S. We went to high school and college here. We both graduated from Texas A&M University. And subsequently, he went on travels throughout South America before returning to Egypt to work for my father's company.

VAN SUSTEREN: So he's not sort of some sort of roving activist around the country.

RADWAN: Not at all.

VAN SUSTEREN: (INAUDIBLE) around the world.

RADWAN: Not at all.

VAN SUSTEREN: Not at all. And why would -- so there's -- the Syrians won't explain anything to you?

RADWAN: So far, they're being extremely tight-lipped. Yesterday, there was a protest in Cairo in front of the Syrian embassy. The Syrian ambassador was gracious enough to come out and speak to the crowd. But unfortunately, he said that diplomats are forced to take a back seat as the security forces in Syria see this as a national security issue. And so they cannot move until their investigations are complete.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have you spoken to the Syrian ambassador to the United States here in Washington?

RADWAN: I have a meeting scheduled with him tomorrow.

VAN SUSTEREN: And maybe you'll get some answers then.

RADWAN: I hope so.

VAN SUSTEREN: Obviously horribly distressing. Especially the incommunicado makes it even all the worse. Tarek, thank you. Good luck, and come back.

RADWAN: Thank you.