Iran executes brother of rebel leader Rigi: Report

Abdolhamid Rigi, a convicted member of Jundollah, was hanged in a prison.

Updated: May 24, 2010, 12:32 PM IST

Tehran: Iran on Monday executed a brother of the jailed leader of a Sunni Muslim rebel group behind the deadliest bomb attack in the Islamic Republic in years, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Abdolhamid Rigi, a convicted member of Jundollah (God`s Soldiers), was hanged in a prison in the southeastern city of Zahedan, IRNA said, after his execution was postponed last July and again in December in order to get more information from him.

His death sentence was carried out after the judiciary confirmed it, the news agency said, adding families of victims of Jundollah were present.

Many minority Sunnis live in the impoverished area in southeastern Iran near Pakistan and Afghanistan, which in recent years saw an increase in bombings and clashes between security forces, ethnic Baluch Sunni insurgents and drug traffickers.

Iran detained Jundollah leader Abdolmalek Rigi in February, a few months after his group claimed a bombing which killed dozens of people.

Jundollah, which accuses the government of discrimination against Sunnis, said it was behind the October 18 attack -- the deadliest in Iran since the 1980s -- that killed more than 40 Iranians, including 15 from the elite Revolutionary Guards.

Iranian officials say Jundollah has links to Sunni Islamist al Qaeda and support from Pakistan, Britain and the United States. London, Washington and Islamabad all denied Iranian accusations of involvement in the attack.

Iran, a major oil producer locked in dispute with the United States and its allies over its nuclear program, rejects allegations by Western rights groups that it discriminates against ethnic and religious minorities.

Bureau Report