Tuesday, December 31, 2002

A fire at a prison in northern Iran has killed 27 people and injured about 50 more.

A prison official in the town of Gorgan, near the Caspian Sea, said initial investigations suggested the fire was caused by an electrical fault. Abbas Ali Arab, who is in charge of the jail, said the victims had all been identified, and were all inmates aged between 20 and 69. The fire, which began at 0320 local time (2350 GMT on Sunday) has been put out.

The injured were taken to several hospitals in the local province of Golestan, Mr Arab said. Five of them are still being treated for severe burns. Eyewitnesses said police were blocking the approaches to the prison.

The official Irna news agency said the judge investigating the incident would issue more details on Tuesday. Correspondents say Iran's prisons are heavily overcrowded, with inmates having an average of only one square metre of cell space each.

Not very strange, in a country like Iran that nothing is right...

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