Iran hangs 11 Sunnis convicted of attacks

TEHRAN, Iran—Iran hanged 11 men authorities said were members of an armed Sunni militant group convicted of bombings, the official IRNA news agency reported.

The executions on Monday were seen as retribution against the group, Jundallah, for an attack last week on Shiite worshippers that killed 39 people in the southeastern port city of Chahbahar. Jundallah, which means Soldiers of God, claimed responsibility for the attack.

“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 the Justice Department of the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan, where Jundallah is active. The executions took place at dawn in Zahedan, the provincial capital of Sistan-Baluchistan.

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 Shiite-dominated Iran.

Jundallah has been waging an insurgency for years in remote Sistan-Baluchistan, a lawless area 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.

Hamidi says all 11 men were convicted in a fair and open trial. He accused them of involvement in attacks over the past years that killed 15 policemen and 12 members of the Revolutionary Guards—Iran’s most powerful military force. The were also accused of supplying arms and refuge to terrorists, armed kidnapping and arms smuggling.

Jundallah has claimed responsibility for a series of deadly attacks on the military and civilians in eastern Iran over the past years.

The group said the attack last week on Shiite worshippers observing a solemn day of mourning was to avenge the hanging of its leader, Abdulmalik Rigi, earlier this year.

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