Source AP ©

Shiite activist arrested by Egyptian security

Egyptian security detained a prominent Shiite activist.

Mohamed el-Derini was taken from his house in a Cairo suburb after an early dawn raid Monday by agents of the Security Intelligence Service (SSI), said his son, Ahmed el-Derini, who was home at the time of the raid. They also searched the home and seized documents, he said.

Police said they had no knowledge about the raid and arrest.

"I do not know why he was arrested. He was doing nothing illegal," el-Derini's son said.

The elder el-Derini is a well-known representative of Egypt's small Shiite community and the secretary-general of the Supreme Council for the Care of the Prophet's Descendants, an unlicensed non-governmental organization.

He was detained for 15 months in 2004 and 2005 before being released following an international campaign led by the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. The U.N. agency considered his arrest as "in contravention" of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Egypt's obligations in the charter.

After his release, he said security agents interrogated him about being a Shiite Muslim and about fellow Shiite Muslims in Egypt, an overwhelmingly Sunni majority country.

Some Sunni leaders in Egypt accuse Shiites of being close to Shiite-dominated Iran and are looking to foment an Islamic revolution like the 1979 uprising there. Shiites deny this, saying the real reason for crackdowns and arrests stem from bigotry.

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