Eight inmates died in a fire at Tehran’s Evin prison over the weekend, Iran’s judiciary said on Monday, in an incident that has increased pressure on a Government already facing protests over the death of a woman in police custody.
All the victims were being held in a section of the prison designated for inmates for robbery-related offences, the judiciary said. In Evin there are also many detainees facing security charges, including Iranians with dual nationality.
Authorities said on Saturday that a prison workshop had been set on fire “following a fight between several inmates convicted of robbery and financial crimes.” The first four deaths reported by state media were due to smoke inhalation.
Protests sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini on September 16 have become one of the most sweeping challenges to Iran’s clerical rulers since the 1979 revolution, with protesters calling for the fall of the Republic Islamic, although the riots do not appear to be close to overthrowing the system.
Families of some political detainees took to social media to ask authorities to guarantee their safety at Evin Prison, which in 2018 was blacklisted by the US government for “serious human rights abuses.”