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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 August 2007, 15:06 GMT 16:06 UK
Tehran killers hanged in public
Majid Kavousifar waves to his nephew
Majid Kavousifar waved to his nephew shortly before being hanged
Two men have been hanged in a Tehran square for the murder of a prominent judge, thought to be the first public execution in Iran's capital since 2002.

Majid and Hossein Kavousifar's deaths come a day after nine public hangings in other parts the country.

The government says it is part of a major effort to tackle violent crime and the illegal drug trade in Iran.

Human rights groups have criticised Iran for the high number of executions it carries out, second only to China.

The uncle and nephew were convicted of the murder of Judge Hassan Moghaddas in central Tehran two years ago.

Their execution was held at the same location as the murder, and on the same date, in front of a large picture of the murdered judge.

People like him should know that their actions cannot and will not dissuade our judges from carrying out their dee
Chief prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi
When Hossein Kavousifar looked distressed as he awaited his execution, his uncle gestured to him and smiled in an attempt to reassure him.

When the time came, hangmen with their heads covered, put the nooses around their necks kicked away the stools on which the two men stood.

A crowd of several hundred watched. Some shouted "God is great", some took pictures with their mobile phones. A few laughed.

The mother of one of the condemned men cried out: "God, please give me back my son."

'No remorse'

Executions doubled in Iran in 2006 to 177, and seven months into 2007, Amnesty International says 151 people have been executed, with the number increasing.

Onlookers use mobile phones and cameras
Onlookers captured the execution on their mobile phones and cameras
The assassinated judge was known for adjudicating in political cases and cases where Iran's Islamic revolutionary system had been criticised.

In 2001, he was the sitting judge in the case of Akbar Ganji - a prominent dissident whom he condemned to six years in prison.

Tehran's chief prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi told reporters that the Majid Kavousifar had expressed no remorse, after killing a judge he had deemed "corrupt".

"People like him should know that their actions cannot and will not dissuade our judges from carrying out their deeds," he said.

On Wednesday seven convicted criminals were hanged for rape, kidnapping and armed robbery in Iran's Second City, Mashhad, with the other two convicts executed in south-east Iran.

A few days earlier 12 people were hanged in Tehran's Evin prison.

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31 Jul 07 |  Middle East
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10 Jul 07 |  Middle East
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21 Dec 04 |  Middle East
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20 Apr 06 |  Special Reports
Country profile: Iran
20 Apr 06 |  Country profiles


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