A fire broke out at Evin Prison in Iran on Saturday night, killing at least eight.
The prison is notorious for holding political prisoners, including many people arrested during the recent nationwide protests. The government of Iran claims it was part of an escape attempt, but a witness inside the prison denied it.
Peter Smith from Global Catalytic Ministries says, “Remember, during the protests over the last four weeks, there have been thousands of people arrested. Unfortunately, many of them are being held in Evin Prison. The prison guards and wardens are saying, ‘Look, we’re in control. And to show that we’re in control, we’re going to set a fire.”
“And we’re going to shoot some of the prisoners so that it creates a spirit of fear among these newly arrested people.’”
Evin Prison has a long history of human rights abuses, including lengthy interrogations and torture. And the Iranian government has responded brutally to the month-long protests, killing over 200 people using live fire and beatings. Nevertheless, huge crowds continue to gather, chanting “Death to the dictator.”
When Iranian authorities arrest Christians, they often send them to Evin Prison. Pray for the safety of prisoners and protestors.
Ask God to give wisdom to GCM partners, house church leaders, and other Iranian Christians. Smith says, “The decision to set the fire in prison, will this cause further unrest and maybe even civil war? We’ll have to wait and see. But ultimately, the people inside the country want a change. They want to have inner peace. What we find from GCM’s point of view is this is the prime time for believers to share the Gospel.”