By Parisa Hafezi
TEHRAN – Iran hanged the convicted leader of a Sunni Muslim rebel group on Sunday for his involvement in “terrorist” attacks in the Islamic state, state television reported.
“Abdolmalek Rigi was hanged at dawn today … he was convicted for many crimes like being behind many deadly attacks … and killing dozens of innocent people,” state television said.
Predominantly Shi’ite Muslim Iran arrested Rigi in February, four months after his Jundollah (God’s soldiers) group claimed a bombing which killed dozens of people, including senior officers of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards.
A Tehran Revolutionary court sentenced Rigi to death and the Supreme Court upheld the sentence, Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency said.
It said Rigi was executed inside Tehran’s Evin prison in the presence of “the families of some of the victims.”
“Abdolmalek Rigi’s charges also included armed robbery, kidnapping, drug trafficking and formation and leading of the terrorist Jundollah group,” Fars reported.
Iran accuses Pakistan, Britain and the United States of supporting the Sunni group to create instability in southeast Iran, where many of the country’s Sunni minority live. The three countries deny backing it.
Iran’s southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan is an impoverished area near Pakistan and Afghanistan. Bombings and clashes between security forces, ethnic Baluch Sunni insurgents and drug traffickers have increased in recent years in the area.
SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY