(AFP) – Jan 2, 2008
TEHRAN (AFP) — Iran hanged 13 convicted criminals on Wednesday, including the mother of two young children who had been found guilty of murdering her husband after discovering he was having an affair, reports said.
Raheleh Zamani, who reportedly chopped her husband's body into pieces, was hanged alongside seven men convicted of murder, in a mass execution at Tehran's Evin prison, the Iranian Student Correspondents' Association (ISCA) reported.
Three drug traffickers were also hanged on Wednesday in public in a square in the central city of Qom and another two in the eastern city of Zahedan, state media reported.
Pictures from Qom showed the three blindfolded men, their bodies hanging limply from nooses attached to cranes as dusk fell, the winter snow falling heavily.
The hangings, the first reported in 2008, were the latest in a growing number of executions in the Islamic republic as the authorities impose a drive they say is aimed at improving security in society.
ISCA said Raheleh had killed her husband Mohammad in 2005 by beating his head with an iron bar after discovering he was having an affair with another woman. She then chopped up the body and hid the pieces in several containers.
ISCA is one of several student news agencies in Iran and is run by Azad University.
The reformist Etemad newspaper reported on December 17 that Raheleh was the mother of a five-year-old girl and a three-year-old boy and had begged for forgiveness from the victim's family.
"My husband was having an affair with another woman and I was under the influence of the pills I took," ISCA quoted Raheleh as saying during her trial.
Raheleh had been due to be hanged on December 19, but was given a last-minute stay of execution to allow her more time to reach a settlement with her in-laws, reports at the time said.
Under Iranian law, a victim's family can ask right up to the moment before an execution that a murderer's life be spared and blood money be paid instead.
The seven men who were hanged with Raheleh included a man named Ali Reza who had been convicted of killing three women in a case that had been widely publicised by the local press.
The three men hanged in the clerical city of Qom, for many years the home of Iran's late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, were convicted of smuggling amounts of up to 590 grammes of heroin (1.3 pounds), according to the official IRNA news agency.
"By implementing God's law, we are increasing security in society and we are sending a message that Qom is not a safe haven for those who break the law," said local judiciary official Hoda Torshizi.
State media said the two convicts hanged in Zahedan had been found guilty of transporting 5.25 kilogrammes (11.5 pounds) of heroin.
Iranian law sets tough penalties for drug trafficking, with anyone found guilty of smuggling more than 30 grammes (0.06 pounds) of heroin or five kilogrammes (11 pounds) of opium liable to the death penalty.
Last year, Iran carried out at least 297 executions, according to an AFP count compiled from press reports.
The total was a sharp increase on 2006, when 177 executions were carried out, according to Amnesty International.
Iran currently makes more use of the death penalty than any other country apart from China. Capital offences in Iran include murder, rape, armed robbery, serious drug trafficking and adultery.
Human rights groups have accused Iran of excessive resort to the death penalty, but the authorities say capital punishment is an effective deterrent that is only used after an exhaustive judicial process.
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