Iran hangs 13 Islamic Jundallah fighters: Westernized prisoners to be released,
- Iran hangs 13 Islamic Jundallah fighters: Westernized prisoners to be released, Bahai trial put off.
Jul 14 2009
[From wire services.] Authorities in southeastern Iran on Tuesday [July 14] hanged 13 members of a Sunni Muslim rebel group convicted of bombings and killings in the area, the official IRNA news agency reported Tuesday.
The report said Abdulhamid Rigi, brother of Abdulmalik Rigi, leader of the group known as Jundallah or Soldiers of God, had been scheduled to be hanged along with the 13 men on Tuesday but his execution was postponed. It gave no reason for the postponement.
Earlier on Tuesday, state radio reported that Abdulhamid Rigi was one of 14 men hanged.
There was no immediate explanation for the discrepancy.
The executions, according to the state radio, took place in the city of Zahedan , some 930 miles (1,500 kilometers) southeast of Iran's capital Tehran and scene of some of the deadliest attacks blamed on Jundallah, which has carried out bombings, kidnappings and killings in the area in recent years.
The group is composed of Sunnis from the Baluchi ethnic minority who complain of persecution by the overwhelmingly Shiite and Persian Iranian government.
IRNA said all 13 men were supposed to be hanged in public but authorities changed their mind at the last minute and decided to execute them inside Zahedan's main prison. The state radio had earlier reported that the executions took place in public.
The area in southeast Iran where Jundallah is active also is a key smuggling point for drugs _ mainly opium _ and is the scene of frequent clashes between police and traffickers.
Iranian authorities say Jundallah has close ties to "foreign forces" in neighboring Afghanistan, a possible reference to the al-Qaida terror network.
Iran has faced several ethnic and religious insurgencies that have carried out sporadic, sometimes deadly attacks in recent years _ though none have amounted to a serious threat to the government.
[New Trend comment: Such harsh penalties carried out in a great hurry smack of blind hatred and tyranny. While Iran is opening up to the West, it is trying to smash resistance by Islamic forces. It's a serious mistake and a blunder. Zahedan is not far from Afghanistan.
Iran would do itself a favor by noticing that U.S. B1 and B52 bombers plus a large NATO-US army has not been able to crush Islamic resistance. According to the Qur'an, the sign of the believers is that they are compassionate towards the believers and strong agaist the oppressors. Iran seems to be reversing the rule by opening up to the West, putting off the trials of Bahais, letting Rafsanjani give the Juma' khutba [July 17] but hastily executing Islamic fighters.
Iran has a knee jerk response to criticism of its atrocities against Jundallah by labelling them as U.S. agents and "wahhabies." If that is true at all, a proper trial would have helped the Muslim world to see that Iran's contention is correct. Notice that owing to Jundallah's growing popularity in Zahedan, the executions could not be carried out in public.]
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