Prominent Egyptian rights activist briefly detained in Lebanon

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BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanese authorities Wednesday briefly detained a prominent Egyptian blogger and human rights activist, his lawyer and sister said, but the reason for his arrest was not immediately clear.

The first word about the arrest of Abdul-Rahman Tarek, also known by his nickname Moka, came from his sister, Sara Tarek. She posted on her Facebook page that her brother was detained by plainclothes policemen Wednesday afternoon from his apartment. She called for his release saying he had spent seven years in jail in Egypt until his release last year.

Tarek was taken to police intelligence headquarters in Beirut where he spent about five hours and was later released, his lawyer, Farouk Moghrabi. The reason behind the arrest was not immediately clear, Moghrabi said.

Sara Tarek later wrote that her brother was released and he is at home.

Security officials did not immediately confirm Tarek’s arrest and later release.

Mary Lawlor, the U.N.’s independent expert on human rights defenders, tweeted: “I hear extremely disturbing news" that an Egyptian human rights defender in exile in Lebanon was arrested today "with no warrant.” She tagged Lebanon’s foreign ministry in her tweet.

A group of Lebanese activists had planned to hold a protest outside police headquarters to demand Tarek's release but it was called off after he was set free.