Iran has executed three members of a Sunni Muslim armed group who were found guilty of carrying out a bomb attack targeting the country’s powerful Revolutionary Guard.
The trio was sentenced to death for the 2019 bombing in the country’s southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan. The judiciary’s Mizan Online website reported on Monday that they were executed by hanging.
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According to the judiciary, the men were sentenced to death after they were found guilty of bombing attacks targeting a police station and a patrol vehicle in Zahedan, the capital of the province. A suicide bomber killed 27 Revolutionary Guard members and wounded 13 others, in one of the boldest attacks on Iran’s most powerful military institution.
They were also found guilty of being members of the Sunni Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice) group, which was formed in 2012 and is blacklisted by Iran as a “terrorist” organisation. The group claimed responsibility for the attack at the time.
Provincial Chief Justice Ali Mostafavinia added that the defendants were also convicted for “receiving military training, transferring and hiding bomb-making materials”.
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Jaish al-Adl and its affiliate groups, based in neighbouring Pakistan, have been accused of committing cross-border attacks against Iranian forces.
Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s president at the time of the 2019 attack, condemned the bombing, saying: “Without a doubt, all perpetrators and those who ordered this vicious, flagrant act will be punished soon with the hard work of the powerful security forces of the country.”
Unrest in Iran’s impoverished Sistan-Baluchistan province, on the border with Pakistan, has over the years involved drug-smuggling gangs, rebels from the Baluchi minority, and Sunni Muslim armed groups.
Record of executions
Iran executes more people annually than any other country except China, according to human rights organisations, including Amnesty International.
Earlier this year, the UN human rights chief, Volker Turk, said Iran has an “abominable” track record of executions this year with an average of more than 10 people hanged each week.
More than 600 people have been executed by Iran so far this year, already the highest figure in eight years, said the Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) group in a November report. In 2015, Iran carried out 972 death sentences, according to the UN.
Irans has also issued death sentences and executed people detained during last year’s antigovernment protests, despite objections from human rights groups.