Iran executes nine for armed robbery, murder: Judiciary
AFP, Tuesday 16 Apr 2013
Six Iranians hanged in public for 'repeated armed robberies, murder and abduction'

Iran on Tuesday executed nine people convicted of armed robberies, murder and abduction in the southern province of Fars, the authorities said.

Six were hanged in public, while the rest were sent to the gallows in prison, the judiciary in Fars said on its website, identifying the convicts only by their initials.

They had been found guilty of "Moharebeh," or waging war against God, through "repeated armed robberies, murder and abduction," it said.

Under Iran's interpretation of Islamic sharia law, using firearms, knives or clubs in a crime are considered as Moharebeh, whose punishment is the death sentence.

Iran, where murder, rape, armed robbery, drug trafficking and adultery are also punishable by death, is among countries with the highest annual record of executions in the world, along with China, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has condemned the executions, but Tehran says the death penalty is essential to maintain law and order and that it is enforced only after exhaustive judicial proceedings.