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  Updated: July 1, 2005

Egypt frees Aal-ul Beit (p) Society chief after 15-month detention

By: Sultan Ahmed

CAIRO, Egypt: Egyptian government has set- free an Egyptian Shia leader detained with a group of Shias and held without charge or trial for 15 months.

In a statement received on Thursday, a human rights group “the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR)” said Mohamed Ad-Derini advocate, who led an informal Shia organization called Aal-ul Beit (progeny of Prophet, peace be upon them) Society, was set free on Wednesday morning.

His release followed a spate of publicity about his case after a UN human rights group, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, said the authorities had no good reason to hold Derini and he should go free. It had said the lengthy unauthorized detention of Ad-Derini was "in contravention" of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Egypt's obligations in the charter.

The EIPR statement said it had already received four court rulings, most recently on June 19, that Derini be released, but the Interior Ministry had refused to free him.
It said Derini was the last to be released of the group of 11 Shias detained last year. None of them ever appeared before a prosecutor, it said.

A Shia advocacy group said Ad-Derini was targeted because he'd tried to establish a forum for Egypt's oppressed Shia community.

According to another group his writings about holy Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him and his pure progeny)'s dynasty (Ahlul Beit, peace be upon them) and their right to succeed him as rulers of Islam could also have been a factor.

Rights groups have complained of police harassment of Shias, apparently motivated by contempt for their beliefs.

Rights groups slam Egypt’s pattern of abuse toward Shias

CAIRO, EGYPT: A United Nations human rights group renewed its call for the Egyptian government to release a Shia advocate held in detention for more than a year without being charged.

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