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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 August 2007, 15:14 GMT 16:14 UK
Iran executes nine more criminals
Iranian hangman cuts down executed man
The five were left on view before the hangman cut the ropes
Iran has hanged at least nine men convicted for rape, kidnapping and armed robbery, state media reported.

Seven were hanged publicly in two separate locations in the north-eastern city of Mashhad, and two others were executed in south-east Iran.

Rights groups say Iran has one of the highest rates of executions in the world and it is rising.

Execution numbers doubled to 177 in 2006 and so far 143 have been executed in 2007, Amnesty International says.

State media has reported that police recently arrested dozens of drug addicts, smugglers, rapists and murderers during a crackdown on crime and immoral behaviour.

Crowds

Mashhad chief prosecutor Gholam Hossein Esmaeeli said a group of five were convicted of "rape, kidnapping, theft and committing indecent acts".

"Two others were young males aged 24 and had abducted a woman two years ago where, after stealing her belongings, they raped her," he added.

State television showed the five convicts' bodies hanging from the gallows under a banner saying "Implementing justice = Elevating security".

The footage showed thousands of spectators at the execution held back by iron fencing and a police cordon.

Last week, 12 convicts were hanged simultaneously in Tehran's Evin prison.


SEE ALSO
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27 Jun 07 |  Middle East
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31 Jul 07 |  Middle East
Iran 'adulterer' stoned to death
10 Jul 07 |  Middle East
UN chides Iran over human rights
21 Dec 04 |  Middle East
'20,000' on death row worldwide
20 Apr 06 |  Special Reports
Country profile: Iran
20 Apr 06 |  Country profiles

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