Iran has hanged a man convicted of raping and murdering a five-year old girl in a village near the southern port city of Bandar Abbas, the ISNA news agency reported on Sunday.
The report identified the murderer by his initials Q.K. and added that he had buried the girl, who was his wife’s sister, after raping and killing her. It said that he was hanged in a prison in Bandar Abbas on Wednesday.
The latest hanging brings the number of executions reported in Iran so far this year to 161, according to an AFP tally based on media and official reports.
Iranian media reported 179 hangings last year but international human rights groups say the actual number was much higher, ranking the Islamic republic second only to China in the number of people it executed.
Tehran says the death penalty is essential to maintain law and order, and applied only after exhaustive judicial proceedings. Murder, rape, armed robbery, drug trafficking and adultery are among the crimes punishable by death in Iran.