After closed-circuit cameras of one of the most notorious prisons in Iran that houses many political prisoners were hacked, leaked surveillance footage of physical violence against prisoners went viral in social media.
The Director General of Iranian Prisons, Mohammad Mehdi Hajmohammadi, issued a statement regarding the visual proof of inhuman treatment of prisoners in Evin prison that had been leaked.
Accepting responsibility for the torture and describing such treatment as “tragic events” on Tuesday, Hajmohammadi apologised and said that they will be dealing with the perpetrators of such violence. He acknowledged the images revealed “unacceptable behaviour” by the prison staff.
State TV reported that the head of Iran’s Judiciary, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, called upon Iran’s prosecutor-general to conduct a “comprehensive investigation into the situation at Evin prison and the treatment of prisoners by officers.”
Footage of the guards brutally beating a prisoner and dragging him on the ground was released by a hacking group who announced themselves as Edalat-e Ali (Justice of Ali). They hacked the close-circuit video camera system of Evin Prison.
The hacker team also posted messages on the screens inside Evin prison’s control room, reading: “Evin Prison is a stain of shame on Raisi’s black turban and white beard,” referring to Iran’s new president Ebrahim Raisolsadati – commonly known as Ebrahim Raisi.
Iran has faced criticism from the United Nations special rapporteur – as well as from a large number of human rights organisations – over abuses of human rights in prisons. On 6 July this year, Ms Mary Lawlor, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders and the founder of Front Line Defenders – the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, stated that: “Defenders of women, of children, of prisoner rights, of labour rights, of freedom of expression, of freedom of association, of minorities, of the right to receive a fair trial and of the right not to be tortured – they all run the risk of being detained in dire conditions for long periods of time.”
The most recent protest against grim prison conditions in Evin prison was launched by Kurdish author Mujgan Kawsi on 16 May.
Kawsi began a hunger strike in Evin prison to protest against the policies of the Iranian regime, Iran’s Ministry of Justice and the prison administration.
Human rights defenders and political analysts state that the leaked surveillance footage presents significant material proof of torture which Iranian authorities in the past have remained silent about.