Kyrgyzstan denies he was arrested from its airliner

Iran's Foreign Ministry has summoned Ambassador of Kyrgyzstan after Bishkek denied the assertion that Iranian authorities had arrested wanted militant Abdolmalek Rigi from a Kyrgyz airliner which was forced to land in Bandar Abbas.

The Iranians claim that Mr. Rigi, head of the armed group Jundallah was on board a flight which had taken off from Dubai and was on its way to Kyrgyzstan's capital, Bishkek.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Iran possessed “solid documents” to establish that Mr. Rigi was arrested from the Kyrgyz airliner. State-run broadcaster Press TV reported that Iranian authorities had subsequently released video footage which documented in detail the capture. The video also showed passengers on the Kyrgyz flight waiting at the airport's lounge and receiving gifts before re-boarding the grounded plane. On Thursday, Kyrgyzstan had denied the detention of any foreign national who was on board its airline.

Meanwhile, Basirat, the website run by the political department of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) quoted a security official as saying the Kyrgyz pilot initially declined to land on Iranian soil. “When the Kyrgyz pilot refused to land, two Iranian fighter jets forced the plane to land at an airport in Bandar Abbas. In order to prevent harm to the passengers, they were told to evacuate the airplane due to suspected terrorist activity on the plane.” The official added that while the plane was being evacuated, Mr. Rigi and his deputy, Molla Mohammad Jan, also known as Hamzeh, were arrested.

According to Basirat, Mr. Rigi had ordered in October the assassination of deputy head of the IRGC ground forces, General Nour-Ali Shoushtari, in Iran's Sistan-Balochistan province that borders Pakistan. Following this, Pakistan limited his activities and advised him to leave Quetta, where he had been residing. However, Mr. Rigi had managed to return to Quetta, the official said.

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