In a rare admission by Iranian authorities, the head of the country’s prisons apologized for “unacceptable behavior” in Tehran’s Evin prison after videos purportedly obtained by hackers showed abuse of prisoners.
A hacking group calling itself Edalat-e Ali (Ali’s Justice) shared with Radio Farda and some other Persian media videos that appear to be from the prison’s surveillance cameras and show guards beating prisoners and dragging an inmate on the floor.
“Regarding the pictures from Evin prison, I accept responsibility for such unacceptable behavior and pledge to try to prevent any repeat of these bitter events and to deal seriously with the wrongdoers,” Mohammad Mehdi Hajmohammadi said in a tweet reported by state media.
“I apologize to God Almighty, our dear leader [Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei], the nation, and honorable prison guards, whose efforts will not be ignored due to these mistakes,” Hajmohammadi said.
Edalat-e Ali says it obtained the images with the aim of exposing them. It also said it had obtained images from the files of political prisoners, as well as some confidential documents that it would release at some point.
“We will continue to expose the oppression,” Iran’s leadership is “inflicting on people.”
Iran has dismissed criticism of its human rights record as baseless.
Hajmohammadi, however, offered no plan on how to address the abuses at Evin.
Since its construction in 1971 under Iran’s shah, Evin prison has seen a series of abuses that continued into the Islamic Republic and has attracted criticism by Western rights groups, being blacklisted by the U.S. government in 2018 for “serious human rights abuses.”
“The (Evin) authorities use threats of torture, threats of indefinite imprisonment and torture of family members, deception and humiliation, multiple daily interrogations lasting up to five or six hours, denial of medical care, and denial of family visits,” Human Rights Watch said in a report.
Information from AP and Reuters was used in this report.