Monday, 30 March 2009

AFP: Home-made booze kills 10 in Iran

TEHRAN (AFP) — Ten people have died from drinking poisoned home-made booze in a northern Iranian province despite a ban on alcohol consumption, the Mehr news agency reported.

The report issued late on Tuesday did not specify when the deaths occurred but said the incident took place in Rasht, the capital of the province of Gilan.

Quoting local police commander Bahman Ameri Mogaddam, Mehr said at least 27 people were being treated in hospital after consuming the spirits and that two were in critical condition.

Iran is an Islamic country where the production and consumption of alcohol is strictly prohibited.

Violations are punishable by jail or the lash, but this has not stopped significant smuggling, especially across Iran's western borders, and deaths from drinking poisoned alcohol are regularly reported.

Home-made spirits are largely consumed in poorer neighbourhoods, but the use of industrial chemicals in their production poses serious health risks.

In November, 12 people died in similar circumstances in the port city of Bandar Abbas.

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