Rigi on trial in Islamic Revolutionary Court, 18 June 2010
Sistan & Balochistan, Iran
|Died||20 June 2010 (aged 31)|
Evin Prison, Tehran
|Allegiance||Jundallah (Soldiers of God)|
|Years of service||1998–2010|
|Battles/wars||2005 Attack on Iranian President|
2007 Tasooki Attack
2007 Zahedan bombing
Chah Bahar kidnappings
2009 Pishin bombing
Abdolmalek Rigi (/ / (listen) ahb-dəl-mah-LEK REE-ghee; also spelt Abdul-Malek Rigi or Abdulmalik Rigi) (Balochi: عبدالمالک ریگی) (c. 1979 – 20 June 2010) was the leader of Jundallah, a terrorist group based in the Sistan and Baluchestan Province of southeast Iran. In 2010, he was captured and executed by the Iranian government.
Early life and education
Born in 1979, Abdolmalek Rigi was from the Rigi 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.
Starting in 2007, there has been considerable controversy over their support and international ties. Jundallah is believed by many experts to be linked to Al-Qaeda. There are also claims that Jundallah has had contact with the U.S. government and receives funding from Baluchi Iranians abroad.
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 was to form a separate Baluch state. He claimed that his goal was to "improve conditions for ethnic Baluchis", and that his group was "fighting exclusively for the rights of Sunni Muslims in Iran".
According to a former hostage[who?], Rigi never slept in one place for two consecutive nights and did not shake hands with other people without wearing gloves. He was also reported to emulate Al-Zarqawi in his conduct and videos of hostage executions. The Iranian newspaper Kayhan incorrectly reported on 7 April 2005 that Rigi had been killed in an operation on the border to Afghanistan. A video surfaced on 11 April 2005, showing Rigi alive. Rigi's brother Abdulhamid Rigi accused his brother of working with Americans against Iran. Iranian authorities claimed that Rigi had murdered an Iranian general and carried out terrorist attacks in Iran. These allegations led to his arrest in February 2010.
There are two conflicting versions of Rigi's arrest. According to the Iranian government, on 23 February 2010, Rigi was aboard a flight from Dubai, United Arab Emirates to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, travelling with a forged Afghan passport. When the plane was crossing the Persian Gulf, Iranian fighter jets intercepted it. The Iranian jets ordered the pilot to land in Iranian territory and "a number of foreign passengers were forcibly removed." When the plane landed at Bandar Abbas International Airport, Iranian forces identified Rigi and arrested him. After his arrest, Iranian TV showed Rigi, with hands tied, being escorted by four masked Iranian commandos.
According to a former U.S. intelligence officer, on the other hand, Rigi was captured by Pakistani officials and delivered to Iran with U.S. support: "It doesn't matter what they say. They know the truth."
On 20 June 2010, Iranian and international media reported that Rigi had been hanged in Evin Prison in Tehran. The Islamic Republic News Agency 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 described as a "severe blow" to Jundullah.
In response to the execution, Iran's then 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."
Rigi was buried in Khavaran cemetery in southeast Tehran.
- "Irna". Irna. Archived from the original on 3 April 2010. Retrieved 13 August 2010.
- "Iran hangs Sunni militant leader Abdolmalek Rigi". BBC News. 20 June 2010. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
- Behnegarsof. "پايگاه خبری تحليلی فرارو - عبدالمالک ریگی کیست؟". Fararu. Archived from the original on 20 September 2010. Retrieved 13 August 2010.
- "Rigi's arrest a godsend for Pakistan". Dawn. Archived from the original on 19 September 2010. Retrieved 18 September 2014.
- Ross, Brian; Isham, Christopher (3 April 2007). "ABC News Exclusive: The Secret War Against Iran". ABC News. Archived from the original on 23 June 2007.
- "Death Toll in Iran Mosque Explosion Rises to 12". FOX News. 13 April 2008. Archived from the original on 24 June 2009. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
- Car bomb in Iran destroys a bus carrying Revolutionary Guards The New York Times
- HDNet Original Programming - Transcripts Archived 6 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- HDNet Original Programming - Dan Rather Reports Archived 23 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- "Leader and 11 members of militant group killed". Gulf News. 7 April 2006. Archived from the original on 11 January 2020. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
- "Iran Sunni rebels video shows killing of officer: TV". Boston.com. The Boston Globe. 11 April 2006. Archived from the original on 20 September 2010.
- "Rigi's brother exposes US ties with Jundullah". Payvand. 22 November 2006. Archived from the original on 10 June 2009. Retrieved 13 August 2010.
- Beckhusen, Robert (14 January 2013). "Iran Targets Dissidents With 30,000-Strong Spy Army [Updated]". Wired. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
- "Iran Says Capture of Rebel Is Blow to U.S." The New York Times. 23 February 2010. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
- Worth, Robert F. (23 February 2010). "Iran captures Sunni insurgent leader Abdolmalek Rigi". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
- Spencer, Richard (23 February 2010). "Iran arrests most wanted man after police board civilian flight". The Telegraph. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
- Macdonald, Mary (25 February 2010). "ANALYSIS - Rigi arrest may show easing Afghan regional tensions". Reuters. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
- Perry, Mark (13 January 2012). "False Flag". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
- "Iran hangs Sunni group leader". Al Jazeera. 20 June 2010. Retrieved 13 August 2010.
- "'West facing constant defeat in Iran'". Press TV. 13 July 2010. Archived from the original on 16 July 2010. Retrieved 13 August 2010.
- "Iran's Fajr Film Festival: 'The Night Moon Was Full' Rakes In Awards". tasnimnews.com. tasnimnews. 12 February 2019. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
- Faghihi, Rohollah (21 February 2019). "True stories of terror stun critics at Iranian film festival". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 27 February 2019.