Massive fire in Iran’s Evin prison amid protests

A massive fire broke out Saturday night in Iran’s notorious Evin prison, which houses hundreds of dissidents and has detained hundreds more over the past month of street protests.

The official Iranian news agency (IRNA) reported that eight people were injured in the fire and that it was under control Sunday morning, while quoting officials who insisted that there was a fire. There is no connection between the fire and recent demonstrations. Mizan Judicial Channel said later on Sunday that four prisoners from the financial crimes ward had died of smoke inhalation in Ward 7 and that 61 were injured. Ten of them were taken to hospital, including four in miserable condition, Mizan said.

Videos spread on social media showed large plumes of smoke rising from the facility located at the foot of the Alborz Mountains in the capital, Tehran. The sound of machine gunfire can be heard in some of the videos, while others show a nearby highway full of cars blaring relentlessly, apparently in protest.

Iran’s semi-official Fars and Tasnim news agencies reported that the unrest began when prisoners convicted of financial crimes in two divisions, Wards 6 and 7, got into an altercation, prompting other prisoners to exploit the chaos and set a workshop and warehouse on fire. full of clothes.

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Fars news agency reported that a number of prisoners had prepared weapons to detain the guards, noting that the fire was orchestrated. The agency said that in the midst of the chaos, some prisoners tried to escape and entered a minefield north of the prison, which led to explosions.

Tasnim broadcast footage of one of its reporters touring the prison, apparently after the fire broke out, to demonstrate that order had been restored. He stopped in front of the clock and signaled at 2:06, likely in the morning, as clear evidence that the flames were contained shortly after they broke out.

Evin has been the site of some of the Islamic Republic’s worst abuses, with many prisoners speaking of extensive psychological and physical torture inside. The intelligence branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps controls at least one wing of the prison, while the Ministry of Intelligence operates another wing.

Families of inmates outside the prison were subjected to tear gas earlier on Saturday, and roads leading there were closed due to nightfall, according to for the Center for Human Rights in Iran, a New York-based advocacy group. The group reported that an ambulance and a bus were sent to Evin to take the wounded prisoners to hospital.

Among the prisoners in Evin prison, Siamak Namazi, the Iranian-American businessman who was arrested in 2015, as well as journalists and political prisoners.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price: “We are urgently following reports from Evin Prison.” chirp Saturday. We are in contact with the Swiss as our protecting power. Iran is fully responsible for the safety of our unjustly detained citizens, who should be released immediately.”

Videos posted online showed people in neighborhoods around Evin chanting “Death to the dictator,” while others showed riot police on motorbikes heading to prison.

On Sunday, Namaz lawyer Jared Jenser chirp That Namazi was safe and called his family. After the fire broke out, Jenser on Saturday appealed to President Biden to “bring the American hostages home.”

Jenser also said that Namazi was placed in solitary confinement after the riots, allegedly “for his own safety.” for Namazy that ‘back w/ #IRGC In solitary confinement is a living nightmare,” Jenser added, referring to Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. “He spent two years being tortured there.”

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The government has launched a crackdown on the demonstrators since the demonstrations swept the country about a month ago. The area’s internet has been severely disrupted in the past two weeks, along with the cellular network, leaving many in the dark and people outside scrambling to see how the violence is spreading.

The protests erupted after the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman, in the custody of the “morality police” on September 16. The Iranian government’s response was swift and fatal: an order issued by the country’s highest army gave the body on September 21 directives to “confront rioters and vigorously counter-revolutionaries,” according to to a leaked document obtained by Amnesty International and reviewed by The Washington Post.

Dehghanpisheh reported from Phoenix.

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