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Iran prison fire death toll rises

October 17, 2022

The fire at Tehran's Evin Prison over the weekend killed eight people, authorities said. Details about the blaze were scarce as officials sought to distance the incident from nationwide protests.

A picture shows damage caused by a fire in the notorious Evin prison, northwest of the Iranian capital Tehran
Tehran said the blaze was extinguished after several hours and no detainees escapedImage: KOOSHA MAHSHID FALAHI/MIZAN/AFP/Getty Images

The death toll in the  fire at Tehran's Evin Prison over the weekend has risen to eight, Iran's judiciary said on Monday.

The deadly blaze came amid nationwide antigovernment protests sparked by the death of 22-year-old Jina Mahsa Amini in police custody.

What we know about the Evin Prison fire

Authorities said Saturday's blaze started amid "riots and clashes," and described the incident as a "fight between inmates and a fire."

Gunshots and explosions were heard in the vicinity of the prison in videos published online.

According to the Revolutionary Guard-run Fars news agency, six prisoners were injured in the fire and remain hospitalized.

Evin prison incident 'is part of what is going on in the streets'

Exiled Iranian activists have cast doubts on the regime's account of what happened.

Political detainees and foreign citizens have been detained in the notorious Evin jail.

It is infamous for the ill-treatment of political prisoners. The US government placed it on a blacklist in 2018 for "serious human rights abuses."

Some of those arrested in the crackdown on demonstrations in recent weeks have also been reportedly detained in Evin.

Protests challenge Iran's clerical rulers

Iranian authorities have sought to distance the prison incident from the continuing protests over Amini's death.

Amini was arrested by Iran's morality police for violating the Islamic Republic's strict dress code. She died on September 16, three days after she fell into a coma following her arrest.

Other prisoners informed her family that Amini had endured brutal beatings while being held by the police. The family said they were not allowed to see her body.

The police claimed Amini suffered a heart attack after being taken in to be "educated."

Meanwhile, Iran's Forensic Organization has said her death was "not caused by blows to the head and vital organs and limbs of the body."

More than 100 people, including children, have reportedly been killed in the protests that began last month, according to rights groups.

These protests have been one of the strongest challenges to Iran's religious leaders since the 1979 revolution, with protesters demanding the downfall of the Islamic Republic.

ss/fb (Reuters, AP, AFP)