Iran hangs five drug smugglers

2013-02-02 14:53

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Tehran - Iran has hanged five people in prison who were convicted of drug trafficking, the justice department in the southern province of Kerman said in a report by Ilna news agency on Saturday.

The men sent to gallows at the prison in the city of Kerman on Wednesday were identified as Allahnazar S, Rahmatollah S, Abdollah S, Saleh H, Nematollah S, said the report.

They had been convicted of trafficking more than a tonne of opium, Ilna said, adding they were also found to be in possession of a number of military-grade weapons.

Kerman province lies on one of the major transit routes for narcotics smuggled into Iran from its eastern neighbours Afghanistan and Pakistan to Western countries.

Murder, rape, armed robbery, drug trafficking and adultery are punishable by death in the Islamic republic, which has one of the highest annual execution counts in the world, alongside China, Saudi Arabia and the US.

Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has condemned the executions, but Tehran says the death penalty is essential to maintain law and order and that it is enforced only after exhaustive judicial proceedings.

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