Page last updated at 18:44 GMT, Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Iran hangs 10 murderers in Tehran

Iranian hanging (archive image)
Hangings have increased under the Ahmadinejad regime

Iran has executed 10 people convicted of murder in Tehran's Evin prison, including a woman who killed her husband and cut him into pieces.

Human rights groups say Iran is second only to China in its readiness to use capital punishment.

The number of hangings has increased since a clampdown on "immoral behaviour" in July 2007.

Earlier this year 29 people were executed in a single day for crimes ranging from murder to armed robbery.

The woman who was hanged had argued in court that she had suspected her husband of trying to rape her daughter from a previous marriage.

But her lawyer, Abdul Samad Khoramshahi, said that was not accepted by the court. He spoke to his client only hours before her execution:

"She wanted us to ask the family of the man she killed for forgiveness and asked that she be allowed to go back and live with her daughter. She was depressed and in a very, very bad condition."

Hundreds killed

Iranian law allows a murder victim's family to spare a convict's life, either by the payment of blood money or through mercy.

Blood money is officially set at $55,000, though some families demand more. The steep sum often puts any payment beyond the reach of the convict's family.

Amnesty International says these hangings bring the number of people executed in Iran so far this year to at least 295.

Last year, the group says, more than 300 convicted criminals were put to death there.

In recent years Iran has also been one of only a handful of nations in the world to execute juvenile offenders - people put to death for crimes they committed under the age of 18.

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