State television said an escape attempt resulted in fights and fires, killing inmates locked in the financial crime ward.
Tehran, Iran – Four more inmates who were in critical condition following a fire at Tehran’s Evin prison have died, bringing the death toll to eight in what Iran has described as an escape attempt.
Authorities said the first four prisoners died from inhaling smoke from a large fire on Saturday night, but a judicial statement on Monday did not clarify the cause of death of the other four, saying they were “injured following a fight between inmates and the fire”.
All eight inmates who died were jailed for theft-related crimes, the justice agency said, adding that the families had been notified but did not disclose the identities of the individuals. Their statement also said 70 inmates had been rescued and six others were still hospitalized, but in stable and improving condition.
Evin Prison, which has been repeatedly criticized by the Western government and human rights groups and blacklisted by the US government in 2018 for “serious human rights violations”, is home to many prisoners. political and security personnel, including dual citizenship.
But the fire that broke out on Saturday did not directly affect the wing where political prisoners are kept, according to authorities and the families of some of the prisoners who have received calls from them.
According to a state TV report on Sunday, the cause of the incident was a prison break that led to a fight between inmates and eventually a fire. It spoke to a number of prisoners – with blurred faces – who said the prisoners had faked their injuries to get out of their cells.
State television showed the burnt remains of what was said to be a “garment factory” burned by inmates who were said to have wanted to jump six meters (20 feet) from the roof to escape but failed to escape. arrested after security forces stormed in. prison.
In some videos filmed by people living around the prison north of Tehran, gunfire and some explosions can be heard as flames and smoke billow up.
Local media initially reported that some inmates escaped and entered the minefields around the prison but later denied that possibility, saying no one escaped.
The European Union and the United States said they were closely monitoring developments related to the prison and called on Tehran to ensure the safety of prisoners.
“The Iranian authorities are responsible for the lives of all those detained, including human rights defenders and EU citizens,” Josep Borrell, the bloc’s foreign policy chief, said. tweet on Sunday. “We expect maximum transparency about the situation.”
The fire at Evin occurred at the beginning of the fifth week in a row nationwide unrest after protests broke out over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody. A young woman from Iran’s Kurdistan province was arrested by the country’s ethics police for wearing an inappropriate headscarf in Tehran.
There were sporadic protests on Sunday and videos continued to surface on social media, but the pace slowed as tighter internet restrictions appeared to be in place late Sunday, almost limiting completely restrict access to virtual private networks (VPNs) that citizens use to bypass restrictions.