Monday, 10 August 2009

Reuters:Iran hangs two members of Sunni rebel group -agency

Iran hanged two members of a Sunni rebel group in prison on Saturday for killings and attacks in a volatile southeastern area, the official IRNA news agency reported.The hanging of the two members of Jundollah (God's soldiers), followed the execution of 13 members of the group on July 14 in the capital of Sistan-Baluchestan province, Zahedan, where a bomb attack on a Shi'ite mosque killed 25 people in May.

Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television had reported that Jundollah claimed the attack."Ayoub Rigi and Masoud Gomshadzehi were convicted as 'mohareb' (one who wages war against God) and also as 'corrupt on the earth'," an unnamed local judiciary official told IRNA.Under Iran's Islamic Sharia law, murder, adultery, rape, armed robbery, apostasy and drug trafficking are all punishable by death.Predominantly Shi'ite Muslim Iran says Jundollah is part of the Sunni Islamist al Qaeda network and backed by the United States, Tehran's arch foe.

Jundollah says it fights for the rights of the Islamic Republic's minority Sunnis."They were hanged early Saturday morning inside the Zahedan prison after their sentences were upheld by the Supreme Court," the official said.On May 30, three people were hanged in public for involvement in the Zahedan mosque blast, Iranian media reported. A brother of the group's leader, Abdolmalek Rigi, will be executed soon, Iran's ISNA student news agency said.Iranian authorities said his execution was postponed for a few days in order to get more information from him.Sectarian violence is relatively rare in Iran, whose leaders reject allegations by Western rights groups that the country discriminates against ethnic and religious minorities.

IRNA also said a convicted drug smuggler was hanged in Zahedan on Saturday.Human rights group Amnesty International had called on Iran not to go ahead with the executions, saying the accused did not receive a fair trial.Amnesty has listed Iran as the world's second most prolific executioner in 2008 after China, and says the Islamic state executed at least 346 people last year. Iran rejects allegations of human rights violations. (Reporting by Hashem Kalantari, writing by Parisa Hafezi, editing by Philippa Fletcher)

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