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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 March, 2005, 11:40 GMT
Iran's 'desert vampire' executed
Map of Iran
An Iranian serial killer who murdered at least 20 children has been executed in front a large crowd of spectators.

Mohammad Bijeh, 24, dubbed "the Tehran desert vampire" by Iran's press, was flogged 100 times before being hanged.

A brother of one of his young victims stabbed him as he was being punished. The mother of another victim was asked to put the noose around his neck.

The execution took place in Pakdasht south of Tehran, near where Bijeh's year-long killing spree took place.

The killer was hoisted about 10 metres into the air by a crane and slowly throttled to death in front of the baying crowd.

Hanging by a crane - a common form of execution in Iran - does not involve a swift death as the condemned prisoner's neck is not broken.

Calm and silent

The killer collapsed twice during the punishment, although he remained calm and silent throughout.

Spectators, held back by barbed wire and about 100 police officers, chanted "harder, harder" as judicial officials took turns to flog Bijeh's bare back before his hanging.

Mohammad Bijeh collapses as he is flogged before his execution
The condemned collapsed twice during the pre-execution flogging
Bijeh was stabbed by the 17-year-old brother of victim Rahim Younessi, AFP reported, as he was being readied to be hanged.

Officials then invited the mother Milad Kahani to put the blue nylon rope around his neck.

The crimes of Mohammed Bijeh and his accomplice Ali Baghi had drawn massive attention in the Iranian media.

They reportedly tricked children to go with them into the desert south of Tehran by saying they were going to hunt animals. They then poisoned or knocked their victims out, sexually abused them and buried them in shallow graves.

They were found guilty of the murders of between 19 and 22 people, but local people believe the toll to be higher.

Baghi has been given a 15 year prison term.


SEE ALSO:
Iran town rejoices at public hanging
16 Mar 05 |  Middle East
Relatives' fury halts Iran trial
13 Oct 04 |  Middle East
Iran 'child murder' trial starts
12 Oct 04 |  Middle East
Iran 'serial child killers' held
11 Sep 04 |  Middle East
Country profile: Iran
13 Aug 04 |  Country profiles


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