Iran puts 10 associates of hanged Sunni rebel on trial

Last Updated: Tuesday, June 22, 2010 - 23:18

Tehran: An Iranian official said 10
associates of hanged Sunni rebel Abdolmalek Rigi were put on
trial on Tuesday for illegally entering the country to carry out
"acts of sabotage," ISNA news agency said.

The trial of the members of the shadowy Sunni Jundallah
(Soldiers of God) began just two days after the hanging of
their leader Rigi.
"The public hearing of 10 associates of Abdolmalek Rigi,
the ringleader of the terrorist Jundallah group, began a few
minutes ago at a court in Sistan-Baluchestan (province)," ISNA
quoted provincial judiciary head Ebrahim Hamidi as saying.

Hamidi said they were being tried for "Moharebe" (waging
war against God) - a crime punishable by death in the Islamic
republic.

He said the rebels were captured by Iran`s elite
Revolutioanary Guards after they "illegally entered the
country following Rigi`s arrest for carrying out acts of
sabotage."

Jundallah, which is waging a deadly insurgency in the
southeastern province for nearly a decade against Tehran`s
Shiite rule, has threatened retaliation for the execution of
Rigi, US-based monitors said yesterday.

"History will prove that many Abdolmaleks will emerge and
that victory and glory are theirs, and that the oppressive
regime in Iran will be defeated and the movement will
celebrate that great day," the group said on its website in a
statement translated by SITE Intelligence Group based near
Washington.
The group also contested official media reports that its
leader had been executed, insisting that Rigi had in fact
"died under the pressure of torture and punishment," and that
Iran only said it had executed him in order to avoid a
scandal.

The group claims it is fighting to secure rights for
Sunni Baluchis who form a significant population in
Sistan-Baluchestan, which borders Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Jundallah has carried out series of brutal attacks on
Iranian security forces, including the Revolutionary Guards.

The latest attack claimed by the group was a suicide
bombing last October that killed at least 42 people, including
seven Revolutionary Guards commanders in the town of Pisheen
in Sistan-Baluchestan.

Rigi himself was captured in a dramatic operation in
February while on a flight from Dubai to Kyrgyzstan, when
Iranian warplanes forced the plane he was travelling on to
land in Iran.

His hanging came less than a month after his brother
Abdolhamid was executed on charges of "terrorism."

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, June 22, 2010 - 23:18

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