Iran: Families of detainees attacked by the police in front of Tehran's Evin Prison
Hundreds of people who gathered in front of Iran's notorious Evin Prison to get information about their family members, who the families suspect may have been arrested in protests over Mahsa Amini's death in custody, were attacked by the police, independent Iranian news outlet Iran Wire reported.
A crowd of around 300 people gathered on Monday outside Tehran's Evin Prison, where most political prisoners in Iran are incarcerated, and waited for hours with no response from the prison authorities, till the police lined up in front of them and attacked them with tear gas, Iran Wire said.
As the crowd shouted, “Disgraceful, disgraceful,” in protest, they were forced away from the prison compound and eventually dispersed.
According to Iran Wire, close to 3,000 people have been arrested in protests that began on 16 September, and as of 26 September there were about 1,430 detainees in Evin Prison, while 1,200 people have been incarcerated in the Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary, also known as Fashafouyeh Prison.
Many detainees are being held in a building known as the “Madraseh” ("School" in English), Iran Wire said, which is a three-story building with three halls of approximately 150 square meters. Each of its halls can house up to 250 detainees.
Detained protesters are classified by Iranian authorities as prisoners of conscience, which the authorities prefer to call "security prisoners", and they do not have the right to choose their own lawyer until they are taken before the court. Even then, they can only choose from a list of pre-approved attorneys.
During the time in custody, pending trial, the families are urged by human rights groups to report on the situation surrounding their detained family members and make the cases public, to reduce the pressure on their loved ones.
22-year-old Mahsa Amini from the city of Saqqez in Kurdistan province, also known as Jina Amini, became a symbol of defiance against oppression in Iran following her death in custody on 16 September, only a few days after she was arrested by the so-called "morality police" in Tehran for allegedly failing to adhere to hijab (headscarf) rules. As authorities claim that she died from underlying health reasons, her family and many Iranians believe that she died as a result of the violence she was subjected to.