There are reports of riots and fire inside Iran's notorious Evin Prison.
Sources inside the prison have told IranWire that wards 7 and 8 of the prison, where common criminals are held, have witnessed a riot and reinforcements arrived at the scene. There are reports that some of the recent detainees are also held in those wards. Shots continued to ring out as plumes of smoke engulfed the sky in Tehran amid the sound of an alarm, videos show.
There are reports of revolts in wards 7 and 8 of the notorious Evin Prison in #Tehran. Prisoners in the other wards and neighbors have been hearing gunshots for a long time. Many of the protesters detained during the recent protests are also jailed in Evin. #Mahsa_Amini pic.twitter.com/TJAFq79EEt— IranWire (@IranWireEnglish) October 15, 2022
A security official said the unrest broke out in a section of the prison holding "thugs", IRNA said, suggesting political prisoners - many of whom are held at the facility - were not involved.
Evin Prison is crowded and regularly houses political dissidents. Video shared on social media showed the facility on fire as the sound of gunshots echoed in the background. IranWire sources heard at least 150 gunshots.
People could also be heard chanting “Death to the Dictator" in nearby buildings. Heavily armed forces have blocked the nearby roads, causing a traffic jam around the prison.
Iranian officials said the unrest which led to a fire at Evin prison was over and firefighters were dealing with the blaze, the official news agency IRNA reported.
The prison fire occurred as protesters intensified anti-government demonstrations along main streets and at universities in some cities across Iran on Saturday.
Iranian authorities have been using Evin Prison for detaining, interrogating and jailing political prisoners. The facility was opened in northern Tehran in 1972 during Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi's reign before he was overthrown in the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
When Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Revolution, took control of Iran, violence at Evin escalated. And in the 1980s, tens of thousands of dissidents were executed at Evin in one of the most savage political mass killings in modern history.