Iran has publicly hanged five men convicted of drug trafficking in the southern city of Shiraz, the governmental newspaper IRAN reported on Saturday. The report said the men sent to the gallows on Thursday were convicted of smuggling different amounts of narcotics and identified them as Abbas Z., Aref A., Abolqasem A., Farhang N., Ali Akbar M. Iran is one of the world’s main practitioners of capital punishment, along with China, Saudi Arabia and the United States. London-based Amnesty International said in its annual review of death sentences and executions worldwide published in March that Iran executed at least 360 people in 2011, three-quarters of them for drugs offences, up from at least 252 in 2010. Adultery, murder, rape, drug trafficking, apostasy and armed robbery are all punishable by death under the Iran’s Islamic sharia law since the country’s 1979 Islamic revolution. Iran says the death penalty is essential to maintain law and order, and that it is applied only after exhaustive judicial proceedings.