Notorious Evin Prison in Iran's capital in flames amid nationwide unrest

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Iran’s central prison for detaining political prisoners was in flames Saturday, with inmates fleeing the facility and guards reportedly firing on them.

The notorious Evin Prison lies in the Iranian capital of Tehran and has long been used to house opponents of the regime. Hundreds of those protesting against the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini have been taken to the facility in recent weeks.

State media denies that the blaze had any connection to the protests, however.

At least four prisoners were killed and more than 60 were injured in the incident, according to the BBC.

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A police motorcycle burns during a protest over the death of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died after being arrested by the Islamic republic's "morality police", in Tehran, Iran September 19, 2022. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.   ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY/File Photo

A police motorcycle burns during a protest over the death of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died after being arrested by the Islamic republic’s “morality police”, in Tehran, Iran September 19, 2022. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.   ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY/File Photo
(Ap Newsroom)

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Much of the prison is still intact Sunday now that the flames are largely under control. State authorities say the fire was restricted to a wing for “petty criminals.”

The blaze comes following a full month of nationwide protests in Iran as citizens outraged at Amini’s death demand an end to dictator Ali Khamenei’s rule.

Local reports say chants of “death to the dictator” could be heard around the prison Saturday evening. Authorities closed of road access to the facility and reportedly cut off internet access for the area, a common tactic for the regime.

In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in a televised New Year speech, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, March 21, 2022. Khamenei signaled support for Tehran's nuclear negotiations to secure sanctions relief, a rare reference to the still-halted talks as world powers near a diplomatic turning point. A portrait of the late Iranian revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini displayed at right. 

In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in a televised New Year speech, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, March 21, 2022. Khamenei signaled support for Tehran’s nuclear negotiations to secure sanctions relief, a rare reference to the still-halted talks as world powers near a diplomatic turning point. A portrait of the late Iranian revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini displayed at right. 
(Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Amini was killed at the hands of Iran’s Morality Police on September 16 after she was arrested for wearing a hijab incorrectly. She was released to the hospital with severe injuries and in a coma. Authorities claimed she simply fell while in custody.

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Watchdog groups say hundreds of people have been killed in the protests, including some regime enforcers. Iran’s restrictions on internet access have made it difficult to verify casualty numbers, however.

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