Iran Focus: Tehran, Aug 25 - After initially denying that a 16-year-old girl had been hanged in public in the northern town of Neka on Monday, August 16, the Iranian government has admitted for the first time that the hanging took place. Iran Focus

Tehran, Aug 25 - After initially denying that a 16-year-old girl had been hanged in public in the northern town of Neka on Monday, August 16, the Iranian government has admitted for the first time that the hanging took place.

The Tehran-based daily Etemad quoted today an official of the judiciary involved in the case, who confirmed that Ateqeh Sahaleh was hanged in Neka last Monday. But he claimed that she was 22 years old, and not 16. Several residents of Neka, including one of Sahaleh’s close relatives, have emphasized that she was 16 years old.

“My own daughter was in the same class,” a pharmacist in the town said. “The poor soul did not deserve to be treated like that.”

“The judge claimed that she had sold her body to men. But even if that were true, would it justify this horrible punishment?” a woman told Radio Farda, a U.S.-funded Persian-language radio based in Prague.

News of the hanging of this girl, first reported by Iran Focus, was met with outrage from the international community. In a press statement on Monday, Amnesty International expressed its ‘outrage’ at the execution of this minor.

After seeing that its initial denial of the hanging backfired, the Iranian government is now trying to evade international outrage and condemnation by claiming, falsely, that Ateqeh was 22.