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Tension High at Iranian Women's Prison after Riot

September 18, 2023
2 min read
Tension High at Iranian Women's Prison after Riot

The situation remained tense in Qarchak women's prison near Tehran late on September 17 where inmates set a fire the previous day.

The incident unfolded on the afternoon of September 16, which marked the first anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s death in police custody.

In a phone call from the largest women's prison in the Middle East, an inmate said that convicts “set fire to their blankets and personal possessions ablaze…vandalized the ceilings and went on the rooftops.”

She said that prison special forces entered the ward at 4:00 p.m. to put down the riot and stayed there until late in the night.

Approximately 100 prisoners were taken away in connection with the riot, the inmate said, adding that there was “no information regarding their well-being."

In an audio recording sent to IranWire, civil activist Mozhgan Keshavarz said that the inmates who tried to exit toward the prison yard were prevented by the guards, who subjected them to physical violence.

According to information received by IranWire, the guards brutally beat prisoners with batons, as dozens of gunshots were heard inside the facility. Several beaten prisoners sustained injuries with some in critical condition.

The prisoner told IranWire that after the riot, the inmates were deprived of food, water and medication. 

"We lack food and water, and the prison remains under tight security," she said. 

News of the prison fire at Qarchak emerged around 6:00 p.m. on September 16, with images shared on social media showing smoke billowing above the prison.

According to some sources, the fire originated from the yard of Block 5 and quickly spread to other areas.

Despite the blocks being filled with smoke, the prisoners were not allowed to evacuate.

Individuals outside the prison witnessed ambulances leaving the facility, as a line of special forces prevented them from approaching the facility.

Qarchak prison primarily houses women convicted of general crimes, but it is also used to detain political and civil activists.

According to the most recent report by the Atlas of Iran's Prisons, more than 1,200 women are held in the seven wards of Qarchak prison.



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