Clashes and fire at the heart of a Tehran prison housing political prisoners

Clashes erupted on Saturday (October 15th) at the Evin Iranian prison in Tehran, where political prisoners and government dissidents are held, and a fire broke out.

Images shared on social networks showed huge flames and thick smoke emerging from the complex, located northwest of the Iranian capital, in the evening. Online videos and local media also reported the shootings.

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“Hooligans set fire to cloth warehouse inside Evin Jail, causing fire”The official news agency IRNA quoted a senior security official as confirming that he had opposed the clashes “rioters” For prison staff. “Currently, the situation is completely under control and peace has returned to the prison.”he added.

Money exchange

Iranian Ministry of Justice website, Mizan OnlineFor his part, notes that the fire broke out “Following a confrontation between several inmates convicted of financial crimes and theft.”. fire “Now under control”A firefighter at the scene confirmed with IRNA agency. “8 people were injured in this disaster, there were no fatalities”.

Evin prison is notorious for mistreatment of political prisoners. Hundreds of people arrested during the protests currently rocking the country would have been sent there. The establishment also detains foreigners or dual nationals Franco-Iranian academic Fariba Adelka And American Siamak Namasi was jailed again this week after a temporary release, his family said.

Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert, He was held in Evin during his 800 days in IranHe said that the relatives of the political prisoners there assured him “All the women in Evin’s political prisoners ward are safe and unharmed. »

“Iran takes full responsibility for the safety of our wrongfully detained citizens and they must be released immediately.”, Net Price tweetedA US diplomatic spokesperson said Washington was following the development of the incident. “urgently”.

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Prominent Iranian director Zafar Banahi, winner of several international awards, and reformist politician Mostafa Tajzadeh are also believed to be in the prison.

“Death to the Dictator!” »

A protest broke out in the streets after the events at Evin Prison, with many chanting “Death to the Dictator!” » – Reference to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Videos showed tires burning, and witnesses said police blocked access to the prison, and at least three loud explosions were heard from the area. Traffic was heavy on major highways near the facility, and many motorists honked their horns in solidarity with the protesters.
People also reported that internet was blocked in the area.

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Tehran lawyer Ali Salehi said “Peace” returned to prison, and the unrest is unrelated to the four weeks of protests that have gripped the country. After the death of 22-year-old Iranian Kurdin Mahza Amini on 16 September, was arrested by the police three days ago. The young woman was accused of violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code, which specifically provides for women to wear the veil.

This still image from a video released on Oct. 15, 2022 shows Iranian female students gathering at the University of Science and Culture in Tehran.

The movement expands

Anti-regime demonstrations continued throughout the day on Saturday in several cities across Iran. Protesters chanted “Down with the dictator! » On the streets of Ardabil in the northwest of the country. Students gathered outside the universities of Kermanshah and Rasht (Northwest), according to videos posted on social networks. In Sanandaj, the center of protests in the northern Kurdistan region, female students chanted. “Woman, Life, Freedom”.

“The mullahs must go! »Chanted women not wearing hijab at the Shariati College of Technology and Vocational Education in Tehran, in a video widely shared online.

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Political and social anger grew in the country following Mahza Amini’s death, prompting women and girls to take to the streets to remove their mandatory veils in a show of solidarity. Other sections of society, including oil workers, joined the movement. Online media outlet 1500Tasweer reported that traders were on strike in Mahza Amini’s hometown of Saghes and Mahabad (north) in Kurdistan province. Riots have also broken out in some prisons, with clashes between inmates and guards recently reported at the Lakan facility.

Le Monde with AP and AFP

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