TEHRAN (AFP) -Iran has publicly hanged in the southeastern city of Zahedan six members of a Sunni “terrorist” group convicted of abducting European tourists and armed robbery.
The men, identified only as Behzad N., Mohammad-Amin H., Abdollah Sh., Mohsen S., Majid K., and Nader K. were all members of a “terrorist group led by (Sunni militant) Abdolmalek (Rigi)”, the Ayande-No daily has said.
The men had reportedly kidnapped Dutch, German, and Irish tourists travelling through Iran and also set a police car on fire, killing four people, the report said Monday.
It appeared to be referring to the abduction by armed bandits in December 2003 of one Irish and two German tourists cycling through Iran, who were later released unharmed.
The militant group Jondullah (Soldiers of God), headed by Rigi, has been held responsible for murdering 22 people in March in the southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan province and another 12 on a road in southern Kerman province in May.
The rebels had also abducted nine soldiers near the Pakistani border last December.
A minority in Shiite-dominated Iran, Sunnis account for more than half the population of Sistan-Baluchestan province, which lies on the main narcotics route from Afghanistan and Pakistan and is a scene of deadly clashes between traffickers and the police.
The executions bring to at least 113 the number of people executed in Iran this year, according to an AFP tally based on press and witness reports.
Amnesty International has said there were 94 executions in Iran in 2005.
Capital offences in the Islamic republic include murder, rape, armed robbery, apostasy, blasphemy, serious drug trafficking, repeated sodomy, adultery or prostitution, treason and espionage.