Fire Breaks Out At Iran's Evin Prison

Fire Reaks Out At Iran’s Evin Prison

Four detainees died in a massive fire at an infamous jail in the capital of Iran that housed political prisoners and dissidents, according to the nation’s court on Sunday. As nationwide anti-government protests sparked by the murder of a young lady in police custody began their sixth week, flames and smoke were seen rising from Tehran’s Evin Prison on Saturday evening. Gunshots and explosions were audible in the vicinity of the prison on online videos.

After several hours, the fire was put out, and no prisoners were freed, according to state media. In an apparent effort to separate the events there from the ongoing protests, they claimed that the fire started as a result of a brawl among convicts. At Evin, where hundreds are detained, human rights organisations have documented ongoing abuse of detainees.

Initially, state media indicated nine people had been hurt, but on Sunday, the judiciary website Mizan. news reported four prisoners had died from smoke inhalation and 61 more had been hurt. It stated that the four people who died were all serving time for robbery charges.

According to Mizan, ten prisoners were hospitalised, with four of them having serious conditions. It claimed that several convicts had attempted but failed to escape. On Sunday, state TV released footage of the fire’s aftermath, showing burned walls and ceilings in what it claimed to be the top level of a prison’s sewing facility.

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According to a senior security official quoted by Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency, there were fights between inmates in one unit and prison staff on Saturday. According to the official, inmates started the fire by setting a warehouse full of prison uniforms on fire. He claimed that to defuse the situation, the “rioters” were removed from the other detainees.

Firefighters were putting out the fires, the official declared, and the “situation is entirely under control.” Later, Tehran prosecutor Ali Salehi claimed that peace had been restored to the prison and that there was no connection between the turmoil there and the nationwide protests that have been raging for the past four weeks.

IRNA later stated, without going into further detail, that nine individuals had been hurt. It released a video that showed burned debris lying around a building and firefighters dousing the embers of the fire with water. Inmates’ families gathered on Sunday near the prison in hopes of hearing from their loved ones within.

Masoumeh, 49, who only spoke by her first name, claimed that two weeks ago, his son, who is 19 years old, was taken to prison after taking part in the street protests. I need to observe him closely since I can’t believe the reports about his health, she remarked.

Reza, a different man who also only revealed his first name, claimed that his brother had been imprisoned in Evin Prison since last year after engaging in a violent altercation. He said, “Following last night’s fire I am here to learn what happened to him. He did not phone us in recent days.”

Online videos of the fire were shared.

An “armed struggle” erupted inside the prison walls, according to the Iranian Center for Human Rights, which is based in the United States. The first gunfire was reportedly heard in the prison’s Ward 7. There was no immediate way to confirm this account.

Online videos of the fire were shared. Videos showed bullets ringing out while smoke plumes rose into the sky and an alarm sounded. Soon after, there was a public demonstration with people burning tyres and yelling “Death to the Dictator!” in reference to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Protests against the administration have persisted for weeks.

According to the semi-official Fars news agency, which is thought to be affiliated with the prestigious Islamic Revolutionary Guard, several inmates who attempted to flee the prison reached a minefield in the institution’s northern region. The report stated without providing any further information that “it is said the sound of explosives was related to the crime.” No mines were set off by detainees, according to a later Fars report.

The security officers looked to be firing shots into the area in the online footage of the jail fire, which was followed by the sound of an explosion. What type of rounds the Iranian security forces employed during the event was not immediately known.

Witnesses reported hearing at least three loud explosions emanating from the area and saw police block roads and highways leading to Evin. Near the prison, which is located in the capital’s north, there was considerable traffic along key roads, and many drivers honked in support of the demonstrations.

Ambulances and firetrucks were also seen travelling toward the site on motorbikes, along with riot police. Internet access was reportedly banned in the region, according to witnesses.

On Saturday, protestors stepped up their anti-government demonstrations on major streets and in universities in some towns across Iran. This is when the prison caught fire. Hundreds of deaths, including children, were reported by human rights observers as the movement entered its fourth week.

Political detainees are frequently housed in this institution.

After widespread outrage over the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, while in police custody, protests broke out. Tehran’s morality police detained her for breaking the Islamic Republic’s stringent dress code. The Iranian government maintains that Amini was not abused while in police custody, but according to her family, when she was arrested, her body exhibited bruises and other symptoms of violence.

Iran’s parliament released a statement on Sunday alleging that Amini did not pass away due to a physical assault but rather because she slipped and the police took too long to seek her medical attention. It encouraged police to extend an apology and give their employees further training.

It suggested installing cameras in cars used to transport inmates and having officers wear cameras on their uniforms. On a visit to Oregon, President Joe Biden remarked that the Iranian “regime is so oppressive” and expressed his “enormous sympathy for people demonstrating in the streets.”

Rights organisations have accused Evin Prison of mistreating its inmates. The prison houses dual citizens and those detained on security-related crimes. Long known for housing political prisoners and Western-affiliated detainees who were used by Iran as bargaining chips in international negotiations, the facility also houses political prisoners.