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Sunday, 23 January, 2000, 11:15 GMT
Judge rapped over pigeon killings

Reports from Iran say the head of the country's judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, has launched an investigation into a case in which a judge ordered the slaughter of one-hundred-and-seventy pigeons.

The judge made the order last week at the end of a trial in which two Teheran neighbours disputed the ownership of one of the birds; both men were accused of illegally breeding and flying pigeons and fined five-hundred-thousand rials 167 dollars each.

The slaughter of the birds was strongly criticised by animal rights groups.

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