Tehran: Iranian authorities on Sunday hanged
12 people convicted of various serious crimes in the southern
city of Shiraz, Mehr news agency reported.
Seven of those executed were found guilty of drug
trafficking. The other five were convicted of rape, kidnapping
and armed robbery.
The deaths bring to 15 the number of hangings carried
out in Iran so far this year, according to a tally based
on media reports.
The European Union last week expressed concern at the
number of executions held in Iran in 2011, and called for
"thousands" of convicts on death row to have their sentence
Last year, 277 people were hanged, according to a tally.
In 2010, the rights group Human Rights Watch counted
388 executions, while Amnesty International counted 252.
The Islamic republic is one of the world`s main
practitioners of capital punishment, a distinction shared with
China, Saudi Arabia and the United States.
Iran says the death penalty is essential to maintain
law and order, and that it is applied only after exhaustive