Rights group Amnesty International has called on the Islamic Republic to immediately allow independent international monitors unhindered access to Iranian prisons.
In a statement on Tuesday, Amnesty International urged a probe into “the harrowing use of unlawful force by security forces at Tehran’s Evin prison on 15 October 2022,” when a mysterious fire broke out at the prison, killing at least eight inmates and injuring over 60.
Calling for protection of prisoners from further unlawful killings, torture and other ill-treatment, the group said, “This latest deadly incident once again brings into sharp focus the urgent need to address the litany of crimes being committed by the Iranian authorities through an independent investigative, reporting and accountability mechanism.”
The group condemned the government who blamed prisoners for the fire that engulfed areas of Evin prison, saying “evidence gathered by Amnesty International raises serious concerns that the authorities sought to justify their bloody crackdown on prisoners under the guise of battling the fire and preventing prisoner escapes.”
According to testimonies obtained by Amnesty International from prisoners, victims’ relatives, journalists and human rights defenders with contacts inside Evin, prison officials fired teargas and metal pellets at hundreds of prisoners, and subjected many to brutal beatings with batons, particularly on their heads and faces.
The group also expressed grave concern about eyewitness accounts indicating that security forces pointed guns to the heads of several women prisoners and may have also fired live ammunition towards some male prisoners.
Following the massive blaze, some journalists and people on social media accused the Islamic Republic of setting the prison on fire intentionally.