By Arab News
“Troubles” erupted between inmates and guards at Tehran’s Evin prison and a fire broke out but the situation is “under control”, Iranian state media reported Saturday.
The fire broke out at the notorious jail after “rioters” started a blaze, the IRNA news agency said, citing a senior security official, who also said at least eight people were injured, citing a firefighter at the scene.
“The situation is currently completely under control,” according to the security source.
“Calm has been restored and firefighters are working to put out the flames,” the source said, adding that “thugs” had set fire to a clothes storage area.
“Gunshots can be heard from Evin Prison and smoke can be seen,” said the activist website 1500tasvir, which also shared video footage it said showed special forces on motorbikes heading for the prison.
“Families of prisoners have gathered in front of the main door of Evin prison,” said a witness contacted by Reuters. “I can see fire and smoke. Lots of special forces. Ambulances are here too.”
Siamak Namazi, an Iranian American imprisoned in Iran for nearly seven years on espionage-related charges rejected by Washington as baseless, returned to Evin on Wednesday after being granted a brief furlough, his lawyer said. Other dual nationals are also held at Evin.
The prison, which mostly holds detainees facing security charges, has long been criticised by Western rights groups and it was blacklisted by the U.S. government in 2018 for “serious human rights abuses”.
Human Rights Watch has accused authorities at the prison of using threats of torture and of indefinite imprisonment, as well as lengthy interrogations and denial of medical care for detainees.
The blaze comes amid ongoing unrest, violence and protests across Iran — the most intense in decades — which also took place again on Saturday.
They first erupted last month after the death in morality police custody of 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian Mahsa Amini.
Hundreds of people detained during the ongoing protests are reportedly detained inside Evin.