Iran hangs 11 Sunnis convicted of attacks
TEHRAN: Iran hanged 11 men authorities said were members of an armed Sunni militant group convicted of bombings, the official IRNA news agency reported. The men were said to be members of Jundallah, the group that claimed responsibility for an attack last week on Shiite worshippers that killed 39 people in the southeastern port city of Chahbahar.
Amnesty International condemned the executions, saying they bear "the hallmark of an act of retaliation" for the attack last week, "not justice." The rights group said Iranian authorities must respect human rights and uphold their obligations under international law, but "in this case, they appear to have meted out summary executions in a manner that completely ignores these requirements." The IRNA report identified all 11 men hanged by their full names. All their family names indicated they were members of the Sunni ethnic Baluchi minority in Shiitedominated Iran.
Jundallah has been waging an insurgency for years in remote Sistan-Baluchistan province, a lawless area in southeastern Iran bordering Pakistan where smuggling and banditry are rife. The groups says it is fighting for the rights of the Baluchi minority, which it says suffers discrimination at the hands of Iran's Shiite's leadership. Iran has accused the group of links to al-Qaida, but experts say no evidence of such a link has been found. The United States designated Jundallah a terrorist organization earlier this year. "Eleven members of the terrorist group and mercenaries who had a role in terrorist activities, fighting police and killing innocent people were hanged," said Ebrahim Hamidi, head of Justice Department of SistanBaluchistan province. -Ap