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Iran hangs convicted Sunni rebel: Report

world Updated: Nov 04, 2009 11:30 IST
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Iran hanged a member of a Sunni rebel group blamed for deadly attacks in the predominantly Shia Muslim state, the semi-official Fars news agency reported on Tuesday.

"Abdol-Hamid Rigi was hanged inside the main prison of Zahedan on Monday," the agency quoted top police official Gholam-Ali Nekouie as saying, referring to the capital city of Sistan-Baluchestan province.

Iranian media had reported that the group, Jundallah or Soldiers of God, claimed responsibility for a deadly bombing in October in Sistan-Baluchestan which killed more than 40 people, including 15 top members of the Revolutionary Guards.

Nekouie said Rigi was convicted of various charges including "kidnapping, cooperating with Jundallah and 'staging war against God'," an offence punishable by death under Iran's Islamic law.

In July, 13 other members of Jundallah were executed in Zahedan on the same charges.

Earlier reports said Rigi was the brother of Jundallah leader Abdolmalik Rigi, but Nekouie said this was not the case.

Iranian authorities accuse Jundallah of sowing discord between the Shia majority and the Sunni minority in Iran. The group says it is fighting against discrimination and for the rights of the Sunnis.

Sistan-Baluchestan province, which borders Afghanistan and Pakistan, is a major transit route for narcotics. It has been hit by a string of attacks and kidnappings that authorities blame on Jundallah.