Prominent Ahwazi Arab activist arrested
Habib Helfi, an Ahwazi Arab political activist, was arrested at his home in Hamidiya on July 21st and is being held in detention by the Ministry of Intelligence.
He has been arrested twice before and was sentenced for two years imprisonment, released three years ago. His brother Ali Helfi, a human rights activist, is serving a 30 years prison sentence and then exile in Gonabad in Khorasan province.
Ali Helfi has been in custody since 2000, when he was arrested on charges of "insurgency". However, he was shown on television in 2006 "confessing" to carrying out bomb attacks on oil pipelines in October 2005, even though he was in prison at the time. Amnesty International has previously raised concerns that he may be executed.
Over the past six months, 70 Ahwazi political activists in Hamidiya, a focus of anti-government protests, have been arrested and detained amid a crackdown by the regime.