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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 October 2007, 15:25 GMT 16:25 UK
Iran hangs 12 for rape and murder
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Iran has hanged 12 people, including one woman, reports say, as the government steps up its execution rate.

Nine people, including a woman, were executed in a mass hanging at Tehran's Evin Prison for murder. Three men were hanged for rape in the city of Shiraz.

The death penalty is given for murder, rape, adultery, armed robbery and drug smuggling under Islamic law in Iran.

Correspondents say the rise in executions is part of a crackdown on security to stamp out serious crime.

The eight men executed at the notorious Evin Prison were found guilty of various murders, with some also convicted of rape.

The woman, named as 30-year-old Fakhteh, was sentenced for killing her employer in 2001. Women are rarely given the death penalty in Iran.

The three men in Shiraz were hanged at the scene of their crime. They were found guilty of rape, molestation and kidnapping over an attack on two women.

Amnesty International has protested against the rising number of executions in Iran. Last month, it said Iran had already executed 210 this year, compared with 177 in 2006.

Iran has rejected criticism of the executions.

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