Iran hangs woman serial killer

Iran has hanged a woman serial killer, convicted of murdering five middle-aged women, in a prison in the central city of Qazvin, the official Irna news agency reported Monday.

The report identified the woman sent to the gallows as Mahin Qadiri, whom it said went on a killing spree between February 2008 and May 2009.

It said, without giving further details, that Qadiri murdered her victims by rendering them unconscious and then strangling them.

The hanging brings the number of executions in Iran to at least 151 so far this year, according to an AFP count based on media reports. At least 270 people were executed in 2009.

Along with China, Saudi Arabia and the United States, Iran has one of the highest numbers of executions each year.

The Islamic republic says the death penalty is essential to maintain law and order and is applied only after exhaustive judicial proceedings.

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

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