On Saturday night, a fire started at Evin, Tehran’s most renowned jail in Iran. According to eyewitness reports and footage posted on social media, the prison site was on fire and smoking, and there was gunfire nearby.
Many political dissidents are held in Evin, including activists, attorneys, journalists, students, and dual citizens.
The protests started last month following the murder of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, while in police custody. She was beaten by the morality police, according to her family; they contradicted the official account that she had a heart attack.
After several weeks of anti-government protests across Iran, a fire broke out.
Several hundred protesters have been detained in Evin jail. It is unknown if the jail’s predicament is connected to the protests.
Families of inmates reportedly arrived in Evin early on Saturday to seek the release of their children, according to sources on the ground. Traffic was congested as word of a fire spread and the prison was encircled. According to eyewitnesses we spoke with, top Iranian special troops arrived in the region on motorcycles and military cars.
There is a paucity of tough-to-identify information regarding the cause of the fire and its aftermath. Near total internet, disruptions were reported in and around Evin and over most of the capital, according to local sources. Iran observers are deeply concerned about the well-being and security of the detainees there.
According to state media in Iran, the incident began when a number of prisoners set fire to a storage facility for prison uniforms. According to Sunday’s state-run media, four detainees had died, 61 had been hurt, and the situation had stabilized.
Protesters had been assembling throughout the evening on Saturday in the streets close to Evin. One of many people on the ground yesterday night reported hearing chants of “down with the dictator” and “death to Khamenei” in the streets and highways surrounding Evin. We are keeping their identities a secret out of concern for security.