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Abdolmajid Rigi (Abdulmalik Rigi)
Nickname Abdolmalek
Born 1983[1]
Died 20 June 2010
Place of birth Sistan & Balochistan, Iran
Place of death Evin Prison, Tehran[2]
Buried at Khavaran cemetery, Tehran
Allegiance Jundallah (Soldier of God)
Years of service 1998–2010
Rank Commander-in-chief
Battles/wars 2005 Attack on Iranian President
2007 Tasooki Attack
2007 Zahedan bombing
Chah Bahar kidnappings
Saravan bombing
Saravan ambush
2009 Pishin bombing
Relations Muhammad Dhahir Baluch

Abdolmajid Rigi or Abdolmalek Rigi (About this sound pronunction  ahb-dəl-mah-LEHK REE-ghee[needs IPA]


</noinclude>; also spelt Abdul-Malek Rigi or Abdulmalik Rigi) (Persian: عبدالمالک ریگی‎) (c. 1983 – 20 June 2010) was the leader of Jundallah, an Islamist Sunni militant organization based in the Sistan and Baluchestan Province of southeast Iran, until his capture and execution in 2010 by the Iranian government.

Early life and education[edit | edit source]

Born in 1983,[1] Abdolmalek Rigi is from the Regi tribe who are ethnic Baloch. Prior to founding Jundallah, while a teenager, Rigi was convicted of assault with a knife, for which he served time in prison.[3]

Although lacking any formal secular education,[3] Rigi had been educated at Karachi's Binnori Town seminary, a Sunni Madrasah which was school to many of the Taliban leaders.[4]

Alleged activities[edit | edit source]

In recent years,[when?] there has been considerable controversy over their support and international ties. Jundallah is believed by many experts to be linked to Al-Qaeda.[5] There are also claims that Jundallah has had contact with the U.S. government and receives funding from Baluchi Iranians abroad.[6]

Dan Rather's U.S. cable channel HDnet's television news magazine Dan Rather Reports, interviewed Rigi and showed a video of Rigi personally cutting off his brother in-law Shahab Mansouri's head. In the same interview, Rigi described himself as "an Iranian" and denied that his goal is to form a separate Baluch state. He claimed that his goal is to "improve conditions for ethnic Baluchis", and that his group is "fighting exclusively for the rights of Sunni Muslims in Iran".[7][8]

On 2 April 2007, Abdolmalek Rigi appeared on the Persian service of Voice of America, the official broadcasting service of the United States government, which identified Rigi as "the leader of popular Iranian resistance movement" and used the title of "Doctor" with his name. This incident resulted in public condemnation by the Iranian-American community in the U.S., many of whom are opponents of the Iranian government.[9][10]

According to a former hostage , Rigi never slept in one place for two consecutive nights and did not shake hands with other people without wearing gloves. He is also reported to emulate Al-Zarqawi in his conduct and videos of hostage executions.[3] It has also been reported that he killed his brother's wife, shooting her to death while she was asleep.[11][12][13]

The Iranian newspaper Kayhan incorrectly reported on 7 April 2005 that Rigi had been killed in an operation on the border to Afghanistan.[14] A video surfaced on 11 April 2005, showing Rigi alive.[15] Rigi's brother Abdulhamid Rigi accused his brother of working with Americans against Iran.[16] Iranian authorities claimed that Rigi had murdered an Iranian general and carried out terrorist attacks in Iran.[17] These allegations led to his arrest in February 2010.[17]

Capture and arrest[edit | edit source]

According to Iranian sources, on 23 February 2010, “Rigi was arrested in Persian Gulf waters while he was traveling on a plane via Dubai to Kyrgyzstan.” According to one Iranian official, “His plane was ordered to land, and then he was arrested after the plane was searched.” [18] The New York Times later reported that the flight was from Dubai to Kyrgyzstan. At a later time, Bishkek airport confirmed that Kyrgyzstan Airways flight QH454 from Dubai had arrived several hours late after being intercepted by Iranian fighter jets over the Persian Gulf and told to land in Iranian territory, adding that “a number of foreign passengers were forcibly removed”.[19]

An earlier report given by Al Jazeera[19][20] claimed that "[Rigi] had been handed over by the Pakistan authorities". The Tehran-based news analysis site Iran Diplomacy also claimed that Rigi was arrested by, or with the help of, Pakistan. Iran Diplomacy claimed that he was arrested in a hospital "with the help of Pakistani intelligence officials, who took action after 'consulting' with the United States".[21][22] Pakistan's ambassador to Tehran, Mohammad Abbasi, has also claimed that "the arrest could not happen without Pakistan's help" without giving any further details, but promising "more details" in the coming days.[23]

Iran linked Jundullah to the Islamist Al-Qaeda network and accused Pakistan, Britain and the U.S. of backing the group to destabilize the country. Several western media outlets also reported that in 2007 the CIA provided funding and weapons to Jundullah,[24]

Post-arrest statements[edit | edit source]

On 25 February 2010, Iranian state television broadcast a statement by Rigi stating he had had American support and that

"The Americans said Iran was going its own way and they said our problem at the present is Iran… not Al-Qaeda and not the Taliban, but the main problem is Iran. We don't have a military plan against Iran. Attacking Iran is very difficult for us (the U.S.). They [Americans] promised to help us and they said that they would co-operate with us, free our prisoners and would give us [Jundallah (Iran)|Jundullah] military equipment, bombs, machine guns, and they would give us a base."

In an interview with Press TV Rigi added that Americans under NATO or Israelis approached him to take Jundullah's conflict from the Baluchi regions into the capital Tehran.[25]

"When we looked back at all the things that had happened we felt that two things were unclear. First, if they are from NATO why did they not meet with us in Afghanistan where they have bases and where they can contact us in a much more easy and secure manner. The second issue was that the first time they informed us that NATO forces wanted to meet with us we thought they were going to speak about eastern parts of Iran, because NATO forces are stationed in Afghanistan. But they insisted that we should transfer our operations from the eastern border region to the capital. We thought that this was very strange. When we thought about it we came to the conclusion that they are either Americans acting under NATO cover or Israelis."

BBC carried a report on the statements, noting that "It is not possible to say whether Abdolmalek Rigi made the statement freely or under duress." The U.S. has denied having links with Rigi's group, Jundullah.[26][27] Reuters also reported that Geoff Morrell, Pentagon press secretary, dismissed claims by the Iranian government that Mr. Rigi had been at an American military base just before his arrest. Morrell called the accusations of American involvement “nothing more than Iranian propaganda.” [28]

Brother's execution[edit | edit source]

On 24 May 2010, his brother Abdolhamid Rigi was executed in the city of Zāhedān. A judiciary official in the province of Sistan-Baluchestan said "The judiciary decided not to carry out the sentence in public because of some security issues." Families of victims of Jundullah attacks were said to be present at the execution.[29] His brother's execution was put off in July 2009 and again in December in order to get more information from him.[30]

Execution[edit | edit source]

On 20 June 2010, the Iranian and international media reported that Rigi had been hanged in the Evin Prison in Teheran.[2] IRNA stated that the execution was carried out following a decision of the Tehran revolutionary tribunal. It quoted a court statement saying: "The head of the armed counter-revolutionary group in the east of the country...was responsible for armed robbery, assassination attempts, armed attacks on the army and police and on ordinary people, and murder." His execution was read as a "severe blow" to Jundullah.[31]

In response to the execution, then Iran's Interior Minister, Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar, said "Over the past 30 years, our enemies faced defeat in every instance and their latest ploy was [inciting] the seditionists who wanted to break our ranks. With the execution of this villain, who was backed by several Western spy agencies and the Israelis, complete peace has returned to the region."[32]

Abdolmalek Rigi was buried in Khavaran cemetery in southeast Tehran.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Irna". Irna. http://www2.irna.ir/fa/news/view/menu-273/8812030116104455.htm. Retrieved 13 August 2010. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Iran hangs Sunni militant leader Abdolmalek Rigi". BBC News. 20 June 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/middle_east/10359415.stm. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Behnegarsof. "پايگاه خبری تحليلی فرارو - عبدالمالک ریگی کیست؟". Fararu. Archived from the original on 20 September 2010. http://web.archive.org/web/20100920122637/http://fararu.ir/vdciwraz.t1avp2bcct.html. Retrieved 13 August 2010. 
  4. "Rigi’s arrest a godsend for Pakistan". Dawn. Archived from the original on 19 September 2010. http://web.archive.org/web/20100919100726/http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/12-rigis-arrest-a-godsend-for-pakistan-420--bi-01. Retrieved 13 August 2010. 
  5. "Death Toll in Iran Mosque Explosion Rises to 12". FOX News. 13 April 2008. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,351011,00.html. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  6. Car bomb in Iran destroys a bus carrying Revolutionary Guards The New York Times
  7. HDNet Original Programming - Transcripts[dead link]
  8. HDNet Original Programming - Dan Rather Reports[dead link]
  9. "Alalam News Channel". Alalam. http://www.alalam.ir/english/en-NewsPage.asp?newsid=018030120070404130601. Retrieved 13 August 2010. 
  10. "VoA interviews Iranian terrorist culprit in a sign of backing". Presstv. http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=4710&sectionid=351020101. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  11. "Jundullah a terrorist organization جنایات گروهک ریگی 1 &#124". NowPublic. http://www.nowpublic.com/world/jundullah-terrorist-organization-1. Retrieved 13 August 2010. 
  12. "Jondullah terrorist organization - pt. 2". LiveLeak. 15 July 2009. http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=e17_1247660167. Retrieved 13 August 2010. 
  13. "پشت پرده گروهك تروريستي عبدالمالك‌ ريگي‌". Tabnak. http://www.tabnak.ir/fa/pages/?cid=57190. Retrieved 13 August 2010. 
  14. Leader and 11 members of militant group killed. Gulf News
  15. Iran Sunni rebels video shows killing of officer: TV The Boston Globe
  16. "Rigi's brother exposes US ties with Jundullah". Payvand. 22 November 2006. http://www.payvand.com/news/09/jun/1092.html. Retrieved 13 August 2010. 
  17. 17.0 17.1 Beckhusen, Robert (14 January 2013). "Iran Targets Dissidents With 30,000-Strong Spy Army [Updated"]. http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/01/iranian-spies/. Retrieved 26 January 2013. 
  18. "Iran arrests Jundallah chief Abdolmalek Rigi". Dawn. Archived from the original on 19 September 2010. http://web.archive.org/web/20100919100831/http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/world/04-rigi-arrested-qs-01. Retrieved 13 August 2010. 
  19. 19.0 19.1 Worth, Robert F. (23 February 2010). "Iran Says Capture of Rebel Is Blow to U.S.". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/24/world/middleeast/24insurgent.html. Retrieved 23 April 2010. 
  20. Iran captures Sunni insurgent leader Abdolmalek Rigi 23 February 2010, By Ian Black]
  21. "ديپلماسی ایرانی - پشت پرده دستگیری عبدالمالک ریگی". Diplomacy. http://irdiplomacy.ir/?Lang=fa&Page=24&TypeId=3&ArticleId=7040&Action=ArticleBodyView. Retrieved 13 August 2010. 
  22. Was Rigi's arrest by Iran staged?, by Meir Javedanfar in Tel Aviv, 24 February 2010
  23. statement on 24 February. ANALYSIS - Rigi arrest may show easing Afghan regional tensions By Myra MacDonald, 25 February 2010
  24. Spencer, Richard; Osborn, Andrew; Waterfield, Bruno (23 February 2010). "Iran arrests most wanted man after police board civilian flight". The Daily Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/7300767/Iran-arrests-most-wanted-man-after-police-board-civilian-flight.html. Retrieved 23 April 2010. 
  25. "Rigi: US, Israel paid for assassination". Press TV. 19 May 2010. http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=126963&sectionid=351020101. Retrieved 13 August 2010. 
  26. Iran Jundullah leader claims US military support. 25 February 2010
  27. "US offered Rigi 'extensive aid' for Iran attacks". Press TV. 25 February 2010. http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=119481&sectionid=351020101. Retrieved 13 August 2010. 
  28. Iran Leader Concedes No Ground to Rivals By NAZILA FATHI, The New York Times, 25 February 2010
  29. "Iran executes Jundollah member". Al Jazeera. 24 May 2010. http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2010/05/2010524102054273572.html. Retrieved 13 August 2010. 
  30. Mostafavi, Ramin (24 May 2010). "Iran executes brother of Sunni rebel leader Rigi". Reuters. http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE64N12L20100524. Retrieved 13 August 2010. 
  31. "Iran hangs Sunni group leader". Al Jazeera. 20 June 2010. http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2010/06/201062034410244183.html. Retrieved 13 August 2010. 
  32. "'West facing constant defeat in Iran'". Press TV. 13 July 2010. Archived from the original on 16 July 2010. http://web.archive.org/web/20100716221828/http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=134627&sectionid=351020101. Retrieved 13 August 2010. 

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