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Iran hangs 12 convicts: reports

This appears to be the first report of a public execution in Iran since judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi ordered in Jan that there should be no more public executions without his approval.

world Updated: May 05, 2008 12:54 IST

Iran has hanged 12 convicted criminals, including nine drug traffickers and three rapists, the latest in a growing number of executions in the Islamic republic, reports said on Monday.

Nine drug traffickers were hanged, one of them in public, in the northeastern city of Bojnourd, Kayhan newspaper reported, without giving the date of the executions.

This appears to be the first report of a public execution in Iran since judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi ordered in January that there should be no more public executions without his approval.

"One person was hanged in public," said Kayhan, without giving further details.

Shahroudi's decree came after a growing number of public executions in Iran, including the hanging of two convicted murderers in the centre of Tehran. It was not clear if he had approved the reported public execution in Bojnourd.

Meanwhile, three criminals convicted of kidnapping and raping at least 11 girls were sent to the gallows in the southwestern city of Ahvaz on Sunday, the Quds newspaper reported.

The hangings bring to at least 86 the number of executions in Iran so far this year, according to an AFP count.

Human rights watchdog Amnesty International reported that in 2007 Iran made more use of the death penalty than any other country apart from China, executing 317 people during the year.

The total was a sharp increase on 2006, when 177 executions were carried out, according to Amnesty International, and came amid a crackdown on criminals by police aimed at improving security in society.

Capital offences in Iran include murder, rape, armed robbery, drug trafficking and adultery.

Human rights groups have accused Iran of making excessive use of the death penalty but Tehran insists it is an effective deterrent that is only carried out after an exhaustive judicial process.