A massive fire at a notorious jail in Iran’s capital holding political detainees and anti-government activists killed four inmates on Sunday, according to the country’s court, causing uproar on Iranian social media. More than 61 got injured during fire broke out after clash among inmates in prison.
On Saturday evening, flames and dense smoke erupted from Tehran’s Evin Prison, as nationwide anti-government protests sparked by the death of a young woman in police custody began their sixth week. Gunshots and explosions can be heard in the prison area on video.
The fire was extinguished after several hours, according to official media, and no captives were able to flee. Authorities have attempted to separate the events at the prison from the ongoing protests, while state media has reported on the violence in a variety of ways.
Hundreds of inmates are held at Evin, where human rights organizations have accused captives of routine mistreatment. On Sunday, families of convicts gathered near the prison, hoping for word on their loved ones who were incarcerated.
Masoumeh, 49, who only supplied her first name, said her 19-year-old son was detained two weeks ago for taking part in public rallies. “I can’t rely on medical reports; I need to keep an eye on him,” she explained.
Reza, another man who only supplied his first name, said his brother was imprisoned in Evin Prison last year after a brawl. “He hasn’t called us in a long time,” he said, “and after last night’s fire, I’m here to find out what happened to him.”
Despite initial reports of nine injuries, the judiciary-affiliated website Mizan.news said on Sunday that four detainees died as a result of smoke inhalation and 61 others were injured. According to the report, all four of those killed were serving robbery sentences in prison.
Eleven detainees were hospitalized, with four in critical condition, according to Mizan. According to the study, several detainees tried but failed to escape. Official media published a video on Sunday purporting to show the aftermath of the fire, with scorched walls and ceilings on what it claimed was the upper floor of the prison’s sewing facility.
The cause of the jail fire and purported explosives was questioned in Iranian social media posts. Former Evin detainee and rights campaigner Atena Daemi noted in a tweet Sunday that all prisoners are usually transported to their wards before sundown, and the workshops end at that time.
According to Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency, violence broke out on Saturday between detainees in one wing and prison employees. According to the official, the incident was started by inmates setting fire to storage full of prison clothing. He further stated that the “rioters” were isolated from the other inmates in an effort to de-escalate the situation.
According to the authority, the “situation is entirely under control,” and firemen are putting out the flames. Later, Tehran prosecutor Ali Salehi said that the prison’s tranquility had been restored and that the upheaval had nothing to do with the country’s four-week-long protests.
According to the US-based Center for Human Rights in Iran, an “armed conflict” erupted behind the jail’s walls. According to sources, the first bullets were fired in Ward 7 of the prison. This account couldn’t be validated right away.
The video of the fire went viral rapidly on the internet. Shots rang out, accompanied by the sound of an alarm, as plumes of smoke ascended into the sky. Following that, a street rally erupted, with many yelling “Death to the Dictator!” — a reference to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — and burning tires, according to the recordings.
Security personnel appears to have launched explosives into the prison area, followed by at least two explosions, according to an online video. The sort of armament employed by Iranian security officers in the event was not immediately clear.
According to witnesses, authorities closed off roads and highways leading to Evin, and at least three massive explosions were heard nearby. Many motorists honked in solidarity with the demonstrations on key motorways near the jail, which is located in the capital’s northwestern suburbs.
Motorcycle riot police, ambulances, and firetrucks were spotted riding toward the site. Witnesses claim that the Internet was switched off in the neighborhood.
Protesters increased anti-government demonstrations along major thoroughfares and at universities across Iran on Saturday. As the revolt entered its fourth week, human rights observers documented hundreds of deaths, including children.
Protests erupted in response to widespread indignation over the death, in police custody, of Mahsa Amini, 22. Iran’s moral police imprisoned her in Tehran for breaking the Islamic Republic’s rigorous clothing code. The Iranian government claims that Amini was not abused while in police custody, but her family claims that her body showed bruises and other signs of cruelty after she was detained.
On Sunday, Iran’s Parliament issued a statement alleging that Amini died because she fell and police took too long to save her. Amini’s family disagreed with the results of an official coroner’s report, which also said that she died as a result of no physical blows or beating.
During a visit to Oregon, President Joe Biden stated that the Iranian “regime is so brutal” and that he has a “huge amount of love for citizens strolling the streets.”
Human rights groups have accused Evin Prison of mistreating its inmates, who include dual citizens facing security-related crimes. The facility has long been notorious for housing political prisoners as well as those with Western contacts who have been used as bargaining chips by Iran in international discussions.
Mahsa Amini Death
On September 16, 2022, a 22-year-old Iranian woman named Mahsa Amini, sometimes known as Jina Amini or Zhina Amini, died in a hospital in Tehran, Iran, under odd circumstances. Amini was arrested by the Guidance Patrol, Iran’s religious morality police, for not wearing the hijab in accordance with government requirements.
According to the Law Enforcement Command of the Islamic Republic of Iran, she had a heart attack at a police station before being sent to the hospital, collapsed, and fell into a coma. However, eyewitnesses, including women imprisoned alongside Amini, said that she was brutally assaulted and killed as a result of police abuse, which Iranian officials denied.
These statements, along with leaked medical images, led impartial observers to believe Amini had a cerebral hemorrhage or stroke.
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