The nation’s judiciary stated on Sunday that 4 inmates had been killed in a hearth at a infamous jail for political prisoners and anti-government activists in Iran’s capital, in dramatic scenes that echoed on Iranian social media.
Flames and thick smoke rising from Tehran’s Avin jail had been broadly seen on Saturday night, as nationwide anti-government protests triggered by the loss of life of a younger girl in police custody entered its fifth week. In on-line movies, gunfire and explosions might be heard within the jail space.
State media stated the hearth was put out after a number of hours and no captives had been left.
Authorities have tried to distance themselves from the continuing protests within the jail, whereas state media have supplied conflicting accounts of the violence. Lots of are being held in Evin, the place human rights teams have repeatedly reported abuse of prisoners.
The relations of prisoners gathered close to the jail on Sunday in anticipation of stories of their family members being inside.
Masumeh, 49, who gave solely his maiden title, stated his 19-year-old son was taken to jail two weeks in the past after taking part in avenue protests. “I can not belief the information about his well being, I want to look at him intently,” she stated.
One other man, Reza, who additionally gave solely his first title, stated his brother Evin has been in jail since final 12 months, when he was concerned in a violent feud. “They have not known as us in current days and after the hearth final evening I’ve come right here to search out out what occurred to them,” he stated.
State media initially reported 9 individuals had been injured, however judiciary-affiliated web site Mizan.information stated on Sunday that 4 prisoners had been killed and 61 others had been injured as a result of smoke. It stated that the 4 who died had been in jail on expenses of theft.
Ten inmates had been hospitalised, 4 of whom are in essential situation, Mizan stated. It stated some prisoners tried to flee however had been unsuccessful.
State TV aired a video on Sunday that stated a room was the higher flooring of a stitching workshop within the jail after a hearth broke out within the partitions and ceilings.
“The hearth was attributable to a struggle between some prisoners at a stitching workshop,” stated Tehran authorities Mohsen Mansouri. “The workshop was set as much as create jobs for the prisoners,” he stated.
Iranian social media posts challenged state media’s claims of a jail fireplace and obvious explosions. Usually, all prisoners are despatched to their wards and workshops are closed by sundown, she stated in a tweet on Sunday, Aetna Demi, a former Evin inmate and rights activist, informed AFP.
Iran’s state-run IRNA information company quoted a senior safety official as saying on Saturday that clashes broke out between inmates and jail personnel in a ward. The inmates set a godown stuffed with jail uniforms on fireplace, the official stated. He stated the “rioters” had been separated from different prisoners to ease the battle.
The official stated the scenario is totally below management and firefighters are dousing the blaze. Later, Tehran prosecutor Ali Salehi stated that peace had returned to the jail and that the unrest had nothing to do with the protests which have raged throughout the nation for 4 weeks.
The US-based Middle for Human Rights in Iran stated an “armed battle” broke out contained in the jail partitions. It stated that gunshots had been first heard in Ward 7 of the jail. This account couldn’t be instantly confirmed.
Footage of the hearth was circulated on-line. It’s proven within the video that pictures had been being performed as smoke rose within the sky amid the sounding of the alarm. Quickly after, a avenue protest broke out, with many chanting “Demise to the dictator!” had been shouting slogans. – A reference to Supreme Chief Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – and burning tyres, is proven within the video.
On-line video of the jail fireplace reveals projectiles being fired by safety forces into the jail space, adopted by at the least two explosions. It was not instantly clear what sort of rounds Iranian safety forces used within the incident.
Witnesses stated police blocked roads and highways resulting in Evin and that at the least three loud explosions had been heard from the world. Visitors was heavy on main highways close to the jail, situated north of the capital, and many individuals paid respects to point out their solidarity with the protest.
Riot police had been seen driving bikes towards the power, as had been ambulances and firetrucks. Witnesses stated the web was switched off within the space.
Jail fires broke out as protesters intensified anti-government demonstrations on fundamental streets and universities in some Iranian cities on Saturday. Human rights displays reported lots of of deaths, together with youngsters, because the fourth week of the motion got here to an finish.
The protests erupted after public outcry over the loss of life of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody. She was arrested by Iran’s ethics police in Tehran for violating the Islamic Republic’s strict costume code. Iran’s authorities says Amini was not abused in police custody, however her household says her physique confirmed bruises and different indicators of beatings after being taken into custody.
On Sunday, Iran’s parliament printed an announcement claiming that Amini didn’t die of bodily trauma, however collapsed and that police waited too lengthy to get her therapy. Amini’s household rejected an official coroner’s report which additionally claimed that she didn’t die of any bodily assault or beating.
On a go to to Oregon, President Joe Biden stated the Iranian “authorities is so oppressive” and that he has “numerous respect for the individuals who march within the streets.”
Evin Jail, which homes detainees dealing with security-related expenses and accommodates twin residents, has been accused by rights teams of mistreating prisoners. The ability has lengthy been recognized to accommodate political prisoners, in addition to these with ties to the West, who’re utilized by Iran as bargaining chips in worldwide negotiations.
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