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TEHRAN (Web Desk) – Iran has executed a group of 20 Sunni prisoners for committing several murders and undermining national security, state media reported on Thursday.

The men had killed dozens of people, including women and children, the Justice Bureau in Kurdistan claimed.

“All the executions — carried out by hanging — happened on Tuesday”, IRIB television quoted Prosecutor General Mohammad Javad Montazeri as saying.

Although described as terrorists by officials, the hanged men are unlikely to be members of any militant, political, or ideological groups such as Islamic State.

The mass hanging is far from the first such incident in Iran. The Islamic republic has the world’s highest rate of hangings.

According to rights group Amnesty International, 977 people were executed in the country in 2015, and 700 since the beginning of this year. In 2008, 29 convicts were executed in one day in Tehran.

Criminal activity – in particular, related to drug smuggling – shows no sign of reducing. Regular executions are also seen to be hurting attempts by President Hassan Rowhani to present Iran as a moderate Islamic state.