News / Middle East

Iran Hangs Militant Insurgent Leader

Pakistani activists of Baloch Rights Council holds a portrait of top Sunni militant leader Abdolmalek Rigi as they shout anti-Iran slogans at a protest in Karachi (File Photo)
Pakistani activists of Baloch Rights Council holds a portrait of top Sunni militant leader Abdolmalek Rigi as they shout anti-Iran slogans at a protest in Karachi (File Photo)
Elizabeth Arrott

Iran has executed the leader of the Sunni Muslim militant group Jundallah.  Abdolmalek Rigi had been convicted of carrying out attacks against both civilians and the military in southeastern Iran.   

Iranian state media say Abdolmalek Rigi was hanged in Tehran's Evin prison early Sunday.  His was the latest in a series of executions of Jundallah members, including Rigi's brother, Abdolhamid, last month.

The militant group has been carrying out a violent campaign to protest what it says is discrimination of Sunnis by the Shi'ite government.  Jundallah claimed responsibility for a bombing late last year that killed 57 people, among them members of the nation's elite Revolutionary Guard and, last month, an attack on a mosque that killed 25 people.

Iran has accused the United States of backing the group, with the aim of destabilizing Iran.  Washington denies the charge.   In a videotaped confession shown on Iranian television, Rigi, in custody, says the Jundallah campaign is driven by the United States and the West.  

Iran says Rigi was arrested in February while flying from Dubai to Kyrgyzstan.  The militant, who was in his mid-twenties, was also shown confessing to plans to meet with U.S. agents in Bishkek.   

Tehran accuses Britain as well of supporting the group, and says it gets support from a base in Pakistan.  Both London and Islamabad say that is not true.  

The group's area of operations, located in Sistan-Baluchestan province along the Pakistan border, is one of the country's poorest and most underdeveloped regions.  Sunni Muslims make up less than 10 percent of Iran's overwhelmingly Shi'ite population.  It is not clear how widespread support for the group is, nor what affect the executions will have on Jundallah's operations.

Ali Nourizadeh, a senior researcher at the Centre for Arab & Iranian Studies in London, said he believes Rigi's confessions may have been part of an effort to have his brother's life spared.  Nourizadeh adds that he interviewed Rigi several times and said he observed his tactics evolving.   

"At the beginning, he was very brutal," Nourizadeh said. "He killed many, many innocent people.  But lately he was wiser. he would only attack the security forces."

Iranian media say Rigi's execution was carried out in front of relatives of victims of Jundallah attacks.

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid