The Beast of Mashhad

Saeed Hanaei believed prostitutes were a ‘waste of blood’. So he murdered 16&#151and became a hero for Iran’s Islamic militants.

Caitríona, my best friend, is the most intrepid woman I know. While I flit around the world in flip-flops, she plonks herself down in the most unsavoury spots and tries to help. She was on the team that collected forensic evidence at the mass graves in Srebrenica, and she gave evidence at The Hague. Now she volunteers helping victims of Iraqi chemical attacks in northern Iran. (Seventeen years later, the women and children of this area are still mostly uncared for, maligned and discriminated against). Today she makes her journalistic debut for Irish radio, and I’m hoping that her reporting will carry at least some of the flavor of the wild and fascinating stories of Tehran she sends when limited internet access allows.

Her husband Dan covers Iran for the UK Guardian. Here’s his latest, horrifying story.

Saeed Hanaei believed prostitutes were a ‘waste of blood’. So he murdered 16—and became a hero for Iran’s Islamic militants.

When the drought ended and the rains came, Saeed Hanaei believed that it was a sign from God that his killing spree had divine approval. “I realised God looked favourably on me. That he had taken notice of my work,” Hanaei said. With 12 prostitutes already dead by his hands, Hanaei carried on his “work” and strangled at least four more women after luring them to his house in the Iranian city of Mashhad.

Read the rest here.