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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 September, 2004, 22:50 GMT 23:50 UK
Iran 'serial child killers' held
By Frances Harrison
BBC correspondent in Tehran

Police in Iran have arrested two men suspected of murdering and burying several children in the desert south of the capital Tehran.

Newspapers gave differing accounts of how many children were allegedly raped and then killed by the pair.

Reports say 10 bodies have been found, but one newspaper says there may have been as many as 22 victims in total.

One state-run newspaper has described the killers as the scavengers of the Tehran desert.

It said the crime came to light after three children in a suburb of Tehran went out to play football and never returned home.

Disguising the smell

The papers said one of the two suspects, a worker in a brick kiln, showed absolutely no sign of remorse for what he had done.

He is quoted as saying he wanted to take revenge on society because as a child he was abused by his stepmother.

Newspapers said the children were beaten with a stone, abused and their bodies buried in makeshift graves with a dead animal left on top to disguise the smell of the rotting corpse.

Press reports said the two suspects have led police to the scene of their latest killing where a bulldozer dug up three burned corpses.

Newspapers have suggested the reason why the killings took so long to be uncovered was that many of the initial victims were Afghan refugees who did not want to file reports with the police because they were illegally staying in Iran.

Country profile: Iran
13 Aug 04  |  Country profiles

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