Iran hangs four for villa rape raid

The hangings brought to 223 the number of executions in Iran so far this year.

Tehran: Four men convicted of raiding a
private party in Iran`s central Isfahan province and abducting
and raping several women were publicly hanged on Wednesday before a
crowd of thousands, Iranian media reported.

The men, aged 20 to 25, were part of a gang of 15 that
burst into the party, being held in a villa in the town of
Khomeni Shahr in May, wielding knives and clubs, Fars news
agency said.

After overpowering and tying up male guests, the gang
kidnapped the women and took them to a nearby villa, where
they were raped, ISNA news agency said.

The hanged men all had prior police records for consuming
alcohol, which is banned in Iran, weapons offences and

Five other members of the gang were sentenced to 28 years
in prison and 74 lashes for complicity in the raid, while
charges against two recently arrested suspects were under
review, provincial judiciary chief Gholam Reza Ansari said,
according to Fars.

Four other suspects are at large.
The hangings brought to 223 the number of executions in
Iran so far this year, according to an AFP tally based on
media and official reports.

Human Rights Watch tallied 388 execution cases in Iran in
2010, while Amnesty International put the figure at 252,
ranking the Islamic republic second only to China in the
number of people put to death last year.

Tehran says the death penalty is essential to maintain
law and order, and that it is applied only after exhaustive
judicial proceedings.

Murder, rape, armed robbery, drug trafficking and
adultery are among the crimes punishable by death in Iran.



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