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Author Topic:   Iran Serial Killer Claims 15th Victim - Agency
Ardalan
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posted June 27, 2001 09:39     Click Here to See the Profile for Ardalan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
TEHRAN (Reuters) June 26 - Authorities in northeast Iran have found the body of a woman wrapped in a black cloth, the latest victim of an apparent serial killer stalking the holy city of Mashhad, the official IRNA news agency said on Tuesday.

The latest find brought to 15 the killer's known victims since last July when the string of murders began.

The body of the 26-year-old woman, who had been strangled with her own headscarf, was found late on Sunday, IRNA said.

The 14 other dead women, aged between 27 and 50, had had drugs or prostitution convictions. Police have said there was no sign of sexual abuse on the bodies of the women and suspect a religious motive.

Mashhad is home to the tomb of Reza, the eighth Shi'ite Imam, making it one of Iran's most holy sites and top pilgrim destinations.

Police are investigating a possible link with the murders of a number of women who ran brothels and were killed in the same way in the nearby town of Bojnourd two years ago.

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Vatandoost
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posted July 11, 2001 18:38     Click Here to See the Profile for Vatandoost   Click Here to Email Vatandoost     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Iran serial killer claims 17th victim

TEHRAN, July 10 (Reuters) - The Iranian killer who strangles women by their Islamic headscarves has claimed a 17th victim in the northeastern holy city of Mashhad, newspapers reported on Tuesday. As in the previous murders, the 30-year-old woman had been strangled by her headscarf and her body wrapped in a chador, a black robe worn by religious Muslim women in Iran.

All the previous victims, aged between 26 an 50, had criminal records of drug addiction or prostitution.

The killings have been dubbed "The Spider Murders" because the headscarves entangled and suffocated the women the way a spider uses its web to trap victims.

Police have suggested a religious motive behind the murders which have all taken place in the past year in Mashhad, home to a major Shi'ite Muslim shrine and an important pilgrimage destination.

As the death toll mounts, pressure is mounting on police and politicians to do more to capture whoever is behind the murders.

Iran's police chief Brigadier General Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf promised during a visit to Mashhad on Tuesday that the police would announce the results of their investigation in the "very near future".

A special police squad has been dispatched to Mashhad from the capital Tehran to assist local authorities.

Police have said they are investigating a possible link with the murders of women who ran brothels and were killed in the same way in the nearby town of Bojnourd two years ago.

The extent of the killings has led to some complaints that the authorities may not be doing enough to capture the killer, given that the victims are on the margins of a conservative Islamic society.

Fatemeh Khatami, a member of parliament from Mashhad, said the assembly's security committee had summoned the police and security chiefs to discuss the matter.

"The message of these murders is that women are defenseless and deserve to die," she told Reuters.

Khatami said parliament's Women's Front expected an explanation from security officials in one week.

A journalist in Mashhad said the murders had caused little stir among the general population because the victims were seen as "socially undesirable".

Police only began to notice a link between the victims after about 10 lives had been claimed.

"People do not feel insecure because of the murders and are mainly curious," said the journalist, asking not to be named.

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Shahrzad
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posted July 12, 2001 10:20     Click Here to See the Profile for Shahrzad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Iran in state of shock over serial murder of prostitutes in holy city

TEHRAN, July 11 (AFP) - Anxiety is mounting in Iran's holy city of Mashhad, the most important pilgrimage center for Shiite Muslims, where a wave of murders of prostitutes dubbed the "spider killings" has just claimed a 17th victim.

"We have the right to know what police and the intelligenece ministry are doing to ensure security," Mohammad Abayi-Khorassani, an MP from Mashad and close ally of moderate President Mohammad Khatami told the reform-majority parliament Wednesday.

On Tuesday, newspapers reported the discovery of the dead body of the 17th prostitute to be murdered in a series of identical attacks in Mashhad, the provincial capital of Khorassan province.

Each of the women, aged between 27 and 50, was found strangeld with her own headscarf and wrapped in her long raven-black chador, or body-length cloak, a greater symbol of purity and modesty than the "hijab" or Islamic headcovering for women in Iran.

Although the outgoing Khorassan police chief on Tuesday -- the same day that he was replaced -- announced the "identification" of five gang members suspected of being responsible for the serial murders, there has been no official word yet on any arrests or why the killings are continuing.

"Five people were identified after the infiltration of a police agent in the gang known as the 'spider killers,'" Javad Hamed was quoted as saying.

The 17 victims each possessed a criminal record for drug use and prostitution, and newspaper reports have been filled with speculation over the motives for the brutal and "organised" killings.

One of the most popular theories is that they represent a kind of "cleansing" act committed by the murderer or murderers, seeking to eliminate prostitution in this holy city.

"Earlier, they said the murders had a religious nature, but they can also be an act of vengeance," said Fatameh Khatami, a deputy from Mashad.

"Authorities must take the murders seriously and inform the population of the results of their investigations," she said.

Khatami said several women MPs had raised the issue at a meeting recently held with the parliament's security commission, where they demanded that the interior and intelligence ministries respond to the murders.

The events have sparked not only serious concern among Iranians but also wide-spread outrage at the revelations of prostitution in Iran's holiest city, otherwise known as the "place of martyrdom."

Contacted by telephone, residents of Mashhad told AFP that the "spider killings" were apparently still puzzling officials, and had become the leading topic of conversation in the city of 1.5 million.

All forms of prostitution, female and male, have been banned in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution, but the phenomenon has made a comeback in recent years, much to the distress of authorities who warn of worsening social conditions.

The Iranian press regularly reports on the breaking up of prostitution rings and brothels in Tehran and the provinces by police forces.

On Wednesday, the Khorassan paper quoted the head of the nation's police forces, Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf as saying that officials were hoping to "make public soon the results of our investigations."

Qalibaf travelled to Mashhad on Tuesday to look into the case.

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Vatandoost
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posted July 20, 2001 15:41     Click Here to See the Profile for Vatandoost   Click Here to Email Vatandoost     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Women MPs warn intelligence minister over 18th prostitute murder

TEHRAN, July 19 (AFP) - Women MPs in Iran have warned the country's intelligence minister over the serial murder of prostitutes in the holy city of Mashhad after an 18th woman was found strangled with her own headscarf this week. "Until now, the main culprit in the murders of Mashhad's street women has not been arrested, and those who were recently arrested were merely suspects," said local MP Fatemeh Khatami, quoted by the Qods newspaper Thursday.

Khatami, not related to moderate President Mohammad Khatami, made the statement after the country's conservative Intelligence Minister Ali Yunessi was called before the reform-majority parliament on Wednesday to report on progress in the case.

"The presence of the intelligence minister in parliament was because of a request filed by the chamber's womens faction," Khatami told the paper, adding that female MPs had issued him a "warning" to catch those responsible.

The murders, dubbed the "spider killings," have sparked popular outrage, and are causing increasing worry in political circles over their possible religious overtones.

Police disovered the body of the latest victim in a northern district of the city on Sunday, the 18th woman to have been killed in the past 12 months.

Like the rest, the 25-year-old woman had been strangled with her own headscarf and was wrapped in her black chador, the full-length cloak women are required wear by the Islamic regime.

"The perpetrators of any such crime would have been identified in less than six months anywhere else in the world," said MP Ali Tajernia, according to the Hayat-e No newspaper.

"Procastination in solving the crimes will spread ugly rumours in society," said Tajernia, who is also a member of the nation's National Security Council.

The newspaper noted rumours were now rife the murders had a "religious" nature. Other media reports have speculated they represent a "cleansing" by fundamentalist Shiite Muslims seeking to eliminate prostitution in the holy city, Iran's second largest city after Tehran.

Following the murder of the 17th victim last week, the former police chief of Khorassan province said "five people were identified after the infiltration of a police agent in a gang known as the 'spider killers.'"

However, the fact there has been a new killing despite the identification of suspects, and no official confirmation of any arrests has angered the women MPs.

All forms of prostitution have been banned in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, but the profession has made a comeback in recent years, much to the distress of authorities.

Iran's press regularly reports on the breaking up of prostitution rings and brothels in Tehran and other provinces by the police.

The killings have sparked not only serious concern among Iranians but also wide-spread outrage at the revelations of prostitution in Iran's holiest city, otherwise known as the "place of martyrdom."

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Vatandoost
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posted August 03, 2001 09:36     Click Here to See the Profile for Vatandoost   Click Here to Email Vatandoost     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

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Vatandoost
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posted August 03, 2001 09:54     Click Here to See the Profile for Vatandoost   Click Here to Email Vatandoost     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Judge says sentence for "streetwalker hunter" impossible to predict

BBC Monitoring Service
Aug 1, 2001

Text of report by Iranian newspaper Qods web site on 1 August

The case of the killings of the streetwalkers has only two private plaintiffs so far.

Saying this, the head of the Special Homicide Court of the Mashhad Justice Department added: Since the families of the victims of these crimes were summoned to court, which took place the day before yesterday, only the families of two of the victims have come to lodge plaints.

He said that the case was currently in the judicial investigation stage and stressed that, contrary to the rumours, the trial of the streetwalker hunter [Persian: shekarchi-ye zanan-e khiabani] would not be commencing this week.

He added: The first session of the trial of Sa'id Hana'i will be held after the completion of the necessary investigations and will be open to the public; the exact date will be announced.

Judge Mansuri referred to the extensive speculation about the sentence that would be issued for the culprit in the killings of the streetwalkers and said: The court's sentence is impossible to predict before the completion of the investigations, the trial itself and hearing what the families of the victims have to say.

The families of Afsaneh K., the first victim, and Leyla J., the 15th victim, are the only ones who have appeared in Branch 53 of Mashhad's General Court to ask that Sa'id Hana'i be punished.

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Vatandoost
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posted August 03, 2001 09:55     Click Here to See the Profile for Vatandoost   Click Here to Email Vatandoost     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Judge denies body of woman strangled with headscarf found in Tehran

BBC Monitoring Service
Aug 1, 2001

Text of report by Iranian newspaper Iran web site on 1 August

The criminal cases judge at the Tehran Justice Department has denied the story about the discovery of the body of a streetwalker in Tehran.

Hojjat ol-Eslam Hoseyni-Kuhkomre'i, the criminal cases judge of the Tehran judicial district, also said: Regrettably, some newspapers publish these kinds of rumours for the sake of sensationalism.

He added: No report has been received in recent days suggesting the discovery of the body of a streetwalker strangled with a headscarf, similar to the killings in Mashhad, and this story is totally baseless.

According to our criminal affairs correspondent, after the arrest of the killer of the Mashhad streetwalkers, a scenario took shape suggesting that similar killings had occurred in Tehran.

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