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Page last updated at 06:10 GMT, Sunday, 27 July 2008 07:10 UK

Iran executes 29 in jail hangings

Map showing Iran

Reports from Iran say 29 people have been executed by hanging in Tehran.

Among them were convicts found guilty of murder, rape, armed robbery and drug trafficking, state television IRIB reported on its website.

All the executions took place on Sunday morning in Tehran's Evin prison, the report said.

Amnesty International, the human rights group, said that last year Iran carried out 317 executions, a higher total than any other country apart from China.

The latest hangings were carried out after the death sentences were approved by the country's Supreme Court, IRIB reported.

"Twenty-nine drug smugglers and well-known bandits were hanged in Evin prison on Sunday at dawn," the statement said.

"These criminals had smuggled thousands of kilos of narcotics in the country and outside the country."

Human rights groups have accused Iran of making excessive use of the death penalty but Tehran insists it is an effective deterrent that is used only after a lengthy judicial process.




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