Iran unrest: Eight people confirmed dead after Tehran prison blaze

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By Euronews  with AFP
Photo released by Mizan News Agency, showing a workshop of Evin prison after a fire in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022
Photo released by Mizan News Agency, showing a workshop of Evin prison after a fire in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022   -   Copyright  Koosha Mahshid Falahi/AP

The death toll from Saturday's fire at Evin prison in Tehran has risen to eight, after four injured people died in hospital. That's according to Iranian authorities who are yet to disclose the official cause of the deaths.

The prison houses hundreds of protesters who were arrested during recent anti-government demonstrations. It remains unclear whether the fire is related to the ongoing unrest across the country.

Authorities in Iran said the fire began in a prison workshop after a fight broke out between inmates, and that the situation has now "returned to normal". 

"The Iranian authorities have said that what happened in Evin prison was a crime committed by some elements [linked to] the enemy," the Chief Justice of Iran, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, was quoted as saying by Mizan Online on Monday. 

NGOs have questioned the authorities' version of events at Evin prison, which is known for its mistreatment of political detainees.

Five weeks of unrest

The fire erupted as nationwide anti-government protests entered their fifth week -- triggered by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who had been arrested three days earlier by Tehran's morality police.

A new report by the Oslo-based Iran Human Rights suggests that more than 120 protesters have been killed as security forces crackdown on the demonstrations.

Iran's leaders have accused the West, and in particular, the United States of stirring-up the unrest.

On Monday, the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Policy vowed that the EU "will always act against serious human rights violations" after the bloc voted to take action against those responsible for the death of Mahsa Amini and the "violent repression" of demonstrations.