TEHRAN, Iran -- An Iranian court has sentenced a convicted child rapist to eight death sentences and 173 lashes, the judge in the case said Thursday.
Mohammad Ali Firouzi, 34, was sentenced under Islamic law this week to hang in each of the eight rape counts he confessed to, Judge Karam Ali Bahrami told The Associated Press.
The court ruled that Firouzi will be hanged in public, a rare occurrence in Iran. Convicts are hanged in public in Iran only if a court deems that their offenses injured public sentiments.
Firouzi was also found guilty of raping 15 other children, plus kidnapping and molesting 36 others.
The judge said he sentenced Firouzi to 10 years in jail for the molestation and robbery charges, plus 15 years imprisonment for kidnapping, but under Iranian law the execution would be carried out first.
Firouzi will also receive 173 lashes -- 74 for robbery and molestation and 99 for the 15 rape counts he did not confess to.
He has 20 days to appeal. The Supreme Court must decide whether to uphold the death sentences.
The defendant pleaded guilty to the eight rape counts during a trial that began Oct. 1 in the southern Iranian town of Marvdasht, where the crimes occurred.
Police said they received the first victim filed a complaint in early 2002.
One of the victim's mothers, who refused to be identified, told the AP in a telephone interview that most of the children were between the ages of five and nine.