A weekend fire at Iran’s notorious Evin Prison damaged one in all the most important buildings inside the complex, consistent with satellite photographs analyzed Monday. Authorities raised to eight the range of inmates killed, doubling the initial toll.

What took place on Saturday night at the jail— for many years the primary preserving facility for political detainees and a centerpiece of the state’s systematic crushing of dissent— stays doubtful. Online videos purport to reveal chaotic scenes with a prison siren wailing as flames upward push from the complicated, the apparent crackle of gunfire and those screaming: “Death to the dictator!”

The fire erupted as national anti-government protests brought on by means of the loss of life of a young girl in the custody of the u . S . A .’s morality police entered a fifth week.

Tensions in Iran have escalated to a degree unseen since the mass demonstrations that accompanied the us of a’s 2009 Green Movement protests. A fire at one among Tehran’s most heavily guarded centers potentially raises the stakes for those persevering with to rally in opposition to the authorities and the necessary scarf, or hijab, for women after the Sept. 16 death of Mahsa Amini.Satellite images taken Sunday by Planet Labs PBC and analyzed via The Associated Press display the roof burning faraway from a massive building that’s a part of the northern phase of Evin Prison. The prison also houses prisoners convicted of criminal expenses.The Iran Prison Atlas, a challenge by way of the California-based rights group United for Iran, which collects statistics on Iranian prisons and prisoners, had previously diagnosed the shape’s wards as housing prisoners convicted on fraud and theft instances — now not those hung on political fees. However, the Iran Prison Atlas has stated that wards have modified over the years.

The reformist newspaper Etemad on Monday quoted Mostafa Nili, a legal professional for some political prisoners at Evin, as figuring out one of the affected regions as Ward eight. He defined those imprisoned there as political prisoners and others convicted on financial expenses.

He additionally stated political prisoners in Ward four of the prison inhaled tear gas all through the incident. The semiofficial Tasnim news business enterprise also said Evin’s Wards 6 and 7 sustained damage as well. Iranian kingdom television rushed a camera crew to the website early Sunday morning, filming a reporter walking through one ward with prisoners asleep in bunks as firefighters doused the embers of the blaze. The TV defined the fireplace as having taken vicinity at a stitching workshop.Iran’s judiciary on Monday raised the death toll from the blaze to 8, after first of all reporting 4 deaths over the weekend.

Authorities have blamed “rioters” for putting the blaze, though they haven’t described what measures they took towards the prisoners on site. Video of the fireplace purports to expose human beings at the roof of the constructing, tossing liquid on the flames before everything. Apparent gunfire echoes via other motion pictures, inclusive of what seems to be a few form of ordinance being lobbed into the jail complex, observed by means of the sound of an explosion.As the fireplace grew large, one video consists of voices shouting: “Death to the dictator!” That cry towards Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has emerge as not unusual at night in Tehran amid the protests, even though it consists of the danger of a demise sentence in a closed-door Revolutionary Court.

The protests erupted after public outrage over the death of 22-yr-antique Amini in police custody. She become arrested by using Iran’s morality police in Tehran for violating the Islamic Republic’s strict get dressed code. Iran’s authorities insists Amini changed into not mistreated in police custody, however her own family says her frame confirmed bruises and other symptoms of thrashing after she turned into detained.

Evin Prison, which holds detainees facing security-associated prices — along with twin residents — has been charged through rights organizations with abusing inmates. The facility has lengthy been known for holding political prisoners as well as people with ties to the West who’ve been utilized by Iran as bargaining chips in international negotiations.

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