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Iran prison fire death toll rises to eight

Iran’s judiciary has raised the death toll in a blaze at Tehran’s Evin prison, saying that at least eight prisoners were killed as protests continue nationwide.

The judiciary’s Mizan news agency offered the new toll on Monday, saying the prisoners had succumbed to their injuries Sunday from the incident.

Details still remain scarce over the fire at Evin prison, which broke out on Saturday night as nationwide anti-government protests triggered by the death of a young woman in police custody entered the fifth week.

Mizan said all those dead had been held on theft charges. It described the incident as a “fight between inmates and a fire,” though it offered no evidence to support the claim. 

Activists outside of Iran say they remain sceptical of the Iranian government’s claims, particularly as their recent descriptions of the nationwide protests have drastically differed with those on the ground.

Flames and thick smoke rising from Tehran’s Evin Prison had been widely visible Saturday night. In online videos, gunshots and explosions could be heard in the area of the prison.

The blaze was extinguished after several hours and no detainees escaped, state media said.

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Ongoing protests

The protests erupted after public outrage over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody. She was arrested by Iran’s morality police in Tehran for violating the country’s dress code for women. 

Iran’s government insists Amini was not mistreated in police custody, but her family says her body showed bruises and other signs of beating after she was detained.

Evin Prison has long been known for holding political prisoners as well as those with ties to the West who have been used by Iran as bargaining chips in international negotiations.

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