Iran: Gunshots, fire reported at Tehran's Evin prison (VIDEOS)

Sunday, 16 October 2022 (11:20 IST)
A huge fire broke out at a prison in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Saturday night, after nearly a month of protests over the death in custody of Jina Mahsa Amini.

Online videos posted to social media appeared to show smoke rising from the city's Evin prison, which holds political prisoners and dual nationals. Gunshots and chanting can be heard in the background.

a lot of innocent people (political prisoners) held in iran’s evin prison. now on fire, with gunshots heard.

— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) October 15, 2022

The official IRNA news agency quoted an unnamed security official as saying the unrest was "under control," and that the blaze was put out.

According to IRNA, at least eight people were injured but nobody was killed in the fire.

What happened at the prison?

The unnamed official cited by IRNA said the unrest occurred in a section of the prison holding "thugs."

IRNA said it erupted due to clashes between prisoners and prison personnel in one ward. Prisoners set ablaze a warehouse holding prison uniforms, a senior security official told the agency.

The authorities claimed to have de-escalated the situation by separating the "rioters" from the rest of the inmates.

Witnesses told the Reuters news agency that roads leading to the prison were blocked, while ambulances arrived at the scene. They added that families of prisoners gathered outside the main entrance.

Political prisoners in danger?

In 2018, the US government had blacklisted the prison, citing "serious human rights abuses."

"Evin is where the Islamic Republic regime holds many political prisoners during these years. According to human rights organizations, this prison is where the regime has committed serious human rights abuses against political prisoners and critics of the government," DW's Farsi language journalist Niloofar Gholami said.

According to Gholami, Iranian human rights activists fear that the situation in Evin is "the regime's own tactic to maybe eliminate political prisoners," despite the official communications on the fire.

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