Two political prisoners who were held in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison during a deadly incident at the detention facility earlier this month have said that security forces shot live bullets at inmates, according to their mother.
In a video posted on Instagram, Toran Kabiri said she was allowed to meet with her sons Kaveh and Yashar on Monday, 24 October, nine days after a fire and riot broke out at Evin prison.
The two brothers were held in the prison’s ward 8 before they were transferred to Gohardasht prison after the compound was hit by what Toran called a "human tragedy."
Details remain scarce over what happened on the evening of October 15 in ward 7 of the secretive compound known for housing political prisoners and for the ill-treatment of inmates. But evidence suggests the blaze was intentional and meant to cover up the shooting of prisoners.
Videos from the scene shared online showed flames and smoke at the site, while gunshots could be heard amid the sound of an alarm.
The judiciary's Mizan news agency described the incident as a "fight between inmates and a fire," though it offered no evidence. It said eight prisoners had died in the tragedy, while IranWire sources put the death toll at 13. Mizan also claimed that all of those killed had been imprisoned on theft charges.
Sources inside the prison have told IranWire that wards 7 and 8, where common criminals were held, witnessed a riot as reinforcements arrived at the scene.
The authorities have been using Evin prison for detaining, interrogating and jailing political prisoners. The facility holds many detainees facing security-related charges, including dual citizens. Hundreds of the protesters arrested in recent weeks for their participation in the ongoing anti-government protests have been sent to the detention center.
Kaveh and Yashar Kabiri saw officers shooting live bullets at prisoners who were falling on the ground, their mother said.
The brothers also told her that prisoners held in Ward 8 managed to break the locks of their cells and get out after officers fired tear gas inside the cells.
She said that security forces forced more than 2,000 prisoners of wards 7 and 8 to stand in the prison’s closed stadium after being beaten by soldiers and prison civilian personnel.
The ground was so hot that “the prisoners were forced to urinate on each other," said Toran Kabiri, herself a former political prisoner.
"The conditions were so bad that even if the older people wanted to sit for a while, they did not allow them to sit and subjected them to terrible insults and humiliation.”