(The Lede, The New York Times Blog) | February 26, 2010
By ROBERT MACKEY
State-run television in Iran showed what it said was a televised confession on Thursday by Abdolmalek Rigi, the recently captured leader of Jundallah, a militant group that claims to be defending Sunni Muslims in Iran’s southeast and has killed hundreds of Iranian soldiers and civilians since 2003.
According to Press TV, Iran’s state-controlled, English-language broadcaster, Iranian officials said that Mr. Rigi had been detained after his flight from the United Arab Emirates to Kyrgyzstan was ordered to land as it passed through Iranian air space. But Al Jazeera, the satellite TV channel based in Qatar, reported that Mr. Rigi was arrested in Pakistan last week and handed over to Iran.
Mr. Rigi’s group says it is fighting on behalf of Sunni Muslims from the Baluchi ethnic group, which is found on both sides of the border between Iran and Pakistan. Jundallah has taken responsibility for a string of bombings in Iran, including one last October that killed 15 members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and 25 civilians.