From: Reuters
Published December 6, 2007 03:33 AM

Iran hangs man for raping boys: report

By Fredrik Dahl

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran has hanged a man convicted of raping three boys when he was 13 despite retractions from his accusers and an order for a judicial review of his case, a Western rights group and an Iranian daily said on Thursday.

Makwan Mouloudzadeh, 20, was put to death on Wednesday in a prison in the western province of Kermanshah, daily Etemad-e Melli said.

Clarisa Bencomo, a Middle East children's rights researcher of U.S.-based Human Rights Watch, said it had information the family was later told to come and pick up the body.

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"We did confirm that the execution took place," she told Reuters by phone from Cairo. "We spoke to people who have seen the body."

"We're appalled. Iran is the leading executor of children and juvenile defenders," she said, referring to people under 18 at the time of the crime.

Iranian judiciary officials were not available for comment. Other Iranian media did not carry reports of the execution.

Iran says it is prosecuting criminals under its Islamic sharia law and rejects criticism of its human rights record.

Human Rights Watch had called on the Islamic Republic to prevent Mouloudzadeh's execution, saying he was sentenced to death in May by a Kermanshah court even though it said all of his accusers had retracted their statements.

Etemad-e Melli, a reformist newspaper, said in November judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahroudi had ordered the execution be suspended because it was in this case against sharia law, without elaborating.

Bencomo said the required review did not take place.

Etemad-e Melli on Thursday quoted Mouloudzadeh's lawyer Saeed Eghbali as saying that, contrary to Hashemi-Shahroudi's preliminary opinion, "the case was rapidly sent back to Kermanshah and the sentence carried out."

The daily said he was arrested last year near his family home and paraded around the town of Paveh on a donkey.

Human Rights Watch this week said Iran was known to have executed two other juvenile offenders earlier this year.

"In imposing death sentences on people for crimes committed before the age of 18, Iran flouts clear and specific human rights obligations," it said.

Fellow rights group Amnesty International said in September it had recorded a total of 210 executions so far in Iran this year, compared with 177 for all of 2006, giving Iran one of the highest rates of execution in the world.

Murder, rape, adultery, armed robbery, apostasy and drug smuggling are all punishable by death under Iran's sharia law, imposed after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

(Editing by Charles Dick)

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