London-based rights group Amnesty International condemned the amputation.

TEHRAN (AFP) - An Iranian jailed for multiple robberies has had his hand cut off at a prison in the north of the Islamic republic, the judiciary said on Thursday.

The man had confessed to 28 counts of theft and the amputation was carried out in Sari city on Wednesday, the justice department of Mazandaran province said.

It said, in a statement on its website, that the "professional thief" had carried out the robberies in and around Mahmoudabad, a town on the Caspian Sea.

It did not identify him.

London-based rights group Amnesty International condemned the amputation.

"Premeditated maiming and mutilation of individuals is not justice. It is a harrowing assault against human dignity," said Saleh Higazi, Amnesty’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa.

"Reforms to Iran’s penal code that would put an end to this outrageous practice are long overdue," he said in a statement.

The number of reported cases of amputations have been few in recent years.