operators of prostitution ring sentenced to death
Qom, Sept 15, 2001
IRNA -- The
provincial justice administration in this holy city has sentenced
two men to death and slapped 23 of their accomplices with jail terms
of from three to 25 years after finding them guilty of operating a
prostitution ring, the top judge said here Saturday.
Ali Talebi told IRNA the 40-member gang, who were all arrested a
month ago, lured young girls to prostitution, committed rape,
kidnapping, drug-trafficking, robbery and various other crimes
against morals and social order.
He said 15 others in the group have been sentenced to lashes of the
whip which are to be carried out publicly.
In July, authorities announced they had broken a gang that was
abducting young girls in Qom, some 125 kilometers south of Tehran,
which members raped collectively.
Press reports in recent months said that an initial 13 members of
the gang had been arrested and that three were still being sought
for rape committed on a dozen girls.
Prostitution, legalized in many western societies, is a crime under
Iranian law with stiffer penalties imposed since after the
Victims are mostly runaways or young girls lured to the trade
because of the promise of financial reward.
Over the past year the Iranian capital has been receiving a number
of reports of runaway girls ending up in the hands of prostitution
gangs, human traffickers or murdered under suspicious circumstances.
Press reports had earlier said the number of runaways in Tehran has
risen 30 percent in just 12 months, citing 900 girls and 700 boys as
having fled from their homes for a variety of reasons.
Meanwhile, Talebi said three convicted robbers are to have their
According to Islamic law enforced in Iran, thieves are to have four
fingers on their right hand severed for recidivism.
In March, authorities in the holy city of Mashhad in northeastern
Iran said they had cut off the forefingers of 20 thieves over the
past two years and warned they would take a tougher line.