Accessibility links

Breaking News

Iran Hangs Man Accused In Kidnapping Of Belgians

TEHRAN (Reuters) -- Iran has executed four men for murder and kidnapping, including one convicted of involvement in the abduction of two Belgians in 2007 and other crimes, the official IRNA news agency reported.

They were hanged at dawn in a prison in the southeastern city of Zahedan in a volatile region close to Afghanistan and Pakistan, which is notorious for frequent clashes between police and armed bandits and drug traffickers.

IRNA said their crimes also included the killing of eight security forces personnel and the kidnapping of a cleric.

The Belgians, a man and a woman, were seized in southeastern Iran in August 2007, but they were released after a few days.

An Iranian official was at the time quoted as saying they had been abducted by a bandit group, whose leader demanded that his jailed brother be freed in return for their release.

Tourists visiting the region have been advised not to travel at night. European and other tourists have been abducted there, and kidnappers held some for weeks in a bid to secure the release of detained relatives from jail.

Murder, adultery, rape, armed robbery, apostasy, and drug trafficking are all punishable by death in Iran.

Amnesty International has listed Iran as the world's second-most prolific executioner in 2007, after China.

Iran says it is implementing Islamic law and rejects accusations it is violating human rights.