Iran hangs six drug traffickers
TEHRAN - Iran hanged six convicted drug traffickers in a prison west of Tehran on Saturday, the semi-official Fars News Agency reported.
Murder, adultery, rape, armed robbery, drug trafficking and apostasy are all punishable by death under Iranian Sharia law practised since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Amnesty International says Iran had the second highest number of executions in 2009 after China, adding that about a third of its 388 executions took place in eight weeks of turmoil following a disputed June presidential election.
Those put to death on Saturday in the city of Karaj were sentenced for carrying and trafficking drugs including heroin and opium, Fars reported, citing the judiciary.
One of the men, Abbas Gravand, was found guilty of possessing 386 grams of heroin. Another, Saeed Mikaeli, was sentenced for possessing and selling 422 grams of crack.
Iran is a key transit route for narcotics smuggled from neighbouring Afghanistan, which produces more than 90 percent of the world's supply of opium, to the West and elsewhere. Opium is used to make heroin.
Last year, Iran's police chief, Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam, said about 130,000 people in the country of 70 million become addicted to drugs each year.
The Iranian judiciary is stepping up its fight against the drugs trade but a large part of the "narcotics mafia" is based outside the country, he added.
In March, Iranian media said five men convicted of various crimes including drug smuggling and rape were put to death in the southeastern province of Kerman.
Iran's human rights record is often criticized by the West. Tehran rejects claims it is violating human rights and accuses the West of double standards and hypocrisy.
May 08 2010 at 11:34
NOTE the mention of "crack" in the story does not refer to crack cocaine but apparently is a term in the mideast for a form of super potent heroin that I do not think exists in the west
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